Southern Sudan - Flooded airstrips,old aircraft and hungary people - 1994
Sudan is the largest country in Africa and contains some of the harshest desert environments one could imagine. The fact that people can live here has always amazed me. The seasons pass from one extreme to the other with the dry season baking and parching the landscape and the wet season absolutely saturating it. And yet in this almost alien environment many communities exist enduring famine and flood and eke out a subsistence living. In Southern Sudan the harsh environment has been further complicated with civil war which has lasted some 20 years. Peace efforts in recent years between the Islamic government of the north and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army of the south has seen dramatic decrease in the displacement of communities which up until recently left people vulnerable to disease and hunger.
TIMOR LESTE (formerly East Timor) Deadly days in Dili - 2006
It had been six years since I was last in East Timor covering the tumultuous events that led to the diminutive nations lunge for independence. The violence and destruction suffered by the East Timorese at the hands of Indonesian militias was nothing short of atrocious and the violence was subsequently quelled as Australian troops were deployed to restore peace and rebuild the country’s shattered infrastructure. In May of 2006 I found myself back in the capital, Dili, to once again cover a brewing unrest. The difference this time was East Timorese fighting against themselves. It seemed that in the ensuing years since independence a form of racial tension, between the easterners and the westerners had started to develop. This tension was bought to international awareness when a large number of the East Timorese defence force quit alleging bias and a lack of opportunity for promotion which they felt was based on racial favour.
SOMALIA - Mogadishu hospital - Operating under fire - 1994
I travelled to Mogadishu,Somalia in 1994 not long after the U.S. military had pulled out from an unsuccessful campaign there. I remember flying from Kenya to a stark and deserted airport on the northern outskirts of the city. I wanted to see how the population was fairing after enduring famine, a foreign occupation of sorts and the collapse of law and order. It didn't take long for these answers to start appearing. On the sandy desert road into the Keysaney Hospital, where I would be staying, the battered old land rover I was passenger in came under fire. We had unwittingly driven into a gun fight between two clans. The clan gunmen were basically the militant protectors of various communities within the city.
Crouching for cover in the back seat of the land rover with the two nurses travelling with me I could hear the retort of machine gun fire and ricochet from off to either side of the vehicle. There was much heated and furious discussion between the two Somali drivers who, much to my relief, decided to make a hasty return to the airport.