Friday, May 02, 2014

Walking The Nile Update: 400 Miles Missed Due to Conflict in South Sudan

Yesterday I posted an update on the Walking the Nile expedition, in which I shared the news that explorer Levison Wood saw his trek along the length of the Nile River disrupted by the ongoing conflict that is taking place in the South Sudan. Since posting that note, the interruption to the expedition has been confirmed, both on the Channel 4 website and the expedition's Facebook page

In a statement posted yesterday, Lev confirms that he trekked as far north as Bor, in South Sudan, where he came face-to-face with the conflict there. His description of the place is difficult to read, as it is clear that the civil war is taking its toll on the region. Lev shares his experiences in Bor, which he describes as a "warzone" that includes bombed out buildings, destroyed tanks, and mass graves. It is a sad report to read to say the least.

At the end of the report Wood writes:
"Whilst I won’t be able to walk this stretch of the Nile I will carry on with the expedition on the other side of the warzone - 400 miles to the north, and one day, in more peaceful times, come back and fill in the gap. 
I’m obviously very disappointed but it’s the right decision for many reasons and ultimately out of my hands. I only wish now for peace in South Sudan and hope that people can get on with their lives."

Clearly it was the right decision for Lev to skip over this section, as it is an incredibly unsafe part of the world right now. I'm sure he is gutted by the fact that he won't be able to walk that 400-mile leg of the river, and hopefully he will indeed be able to return, and fill in that missing part of this journey.


It is still a bit unclear as to where exactly he resumed his journey, and when. As I noted yesterday, I had a source that broke the news to me about the situation in the South Sudan who indicated that all of this happened some time ago. This is somewhat corroborated by the fact that the Channel 4 page that shares Lev's latest location, hasn't been updated since March 19, and still has him in Nimule in South Sudan. If this disruption did take place back then, I'm not sure why it has taken so long for the website and social media channels to be updated. In the past, Lev's team has done a good job of keeping us posted on his progress, but for some reason this news has been slow to make its way out.

Fortunately, it does seem that he is back on the river and continuing his journey. The Nile runs for 4132 miles (6650 km), so there is still a long way to go. The 400 miles that had to be skipped represents about 10% of the journey, which is not an insignificant amount. Hopefully, everything works out for the rest of the walk, and perhaps things will be a bit more calm in South Sudan once Lev has finished the remaining miles, so he can return and complete this elusive segment.

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