"Years Into A Climate Disaster, These People Are Eating The Unthinkable"

"In South Sudan, war and semi-permanent flooding have left people to scavenge for food, with long-term consequences for their health".

"CHOTYIEL, South Sudan — It was 1 p.m., her children still hadn’t eaten, and every item on Nyaguey Dak Kieth’s “long to-do list” pertained to surviving another day. So Nyaguey grabbed a plastic bucket and an empty sack and set off from her village surrounded by floodwater. Those waters had upended her life, but also provided a food option — not a desirable one, but one of the few left.

Water lilies. They’d been keeping her family alive for two years.

They were bitter. Hard to digest. They required hours of manual labor — cutting, pounding, drying, sifting — just to be made edible. Nyaguey could still remember her initial shock at eating them, figuring they’d be a short-term measure. And now, with the floodwaters holding their ground, she could trace a two-year arc of distress in what the lilies had become: sustenance so vital that people were slogging farther and farther into the waters to find them, before someone else did.

“I can see some lilies here,” another woman told Nyaguey after a group of four had walked 20 minutes out of town, reaching the edge of the waters.

“Not enough,” Nyaguey said, and the group kept moving. “It looks like somebody already collected most of these.”"

Chico Harlan reports for the Washington Post November 2, 2023.

Source: Washington Post, 11/03/2023