The mere mentioning of South Sudan invokes the images of war, pandemonium, refugee crisis, hunger and starvation, and a near-failed State. However, sometimes, hopes can spring out of hopelessness. Happily, this is a typical case, as South Sudanese surgeon Dr. Evan Atar was named as the winner of the Nansen Refugee Award by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The award, which is bestowed on an individual who goes beyond the call of duty to help save lives, is a huge recognition of Dr. Atar’s tireless commitment to bring some sense of decency and meaning to otherwise meaningless South Sudan situation. Dr. Atar, who runs a hospital in the region of Bunj in north-eastern South Sudan, takes unimaginable steps and risks to help people in the region, most of them forcibly displaced from their homes by war. DR Atar’s hospital, which has the facility to serve close to 250,000 people, is, in fact, the only functioning health centre in the region.
With the $150,000 (£114,000) award, Dr. Atar hopes to fund a project which will not only make him achieve his present goals in the hospital but will equally bring meaning to the meaningless war and destruction of his country.