Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is NPR's East Africa Correspondent. His reports cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. His coverage can be heard across NPR and NPR.org.

Before joining NPR, Warner was a senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where he endeavored to make the economics of American health care vivid and engaging. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnoses on the doctor-patient relationship. He composed a Suessian cartoon to explain why health care job growth policies can increase the national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won the 2012 Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prior to Marketplace, Warner was a freelance radio producer reporting from conflict zones around the world. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for NPR's Radiolab.

Warner's radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has twice won Best News Feature from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009 and 2012.

Warner earned his degree in English at Yale University. He is conversant in Arabic.

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Africa
3:09 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

When Do Food Shortages Become A Famine? There's A Formula For That

A child with suspected malnutrition is examined at a medical clinic in Malakal, South Sudan, in July.
Matthew Abbott AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 6:29 pm

Chris Hillbruner has a little-known job with an extraordinary responsibility: to determine how close a given country has come to famine.

In his six years at the U.S. government's Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, he's only officially declared famine once before, in Somalia in 2011.

Hillbruner explains that the bar for declaring famine was deliberately set high to avoid the confusion of the 1980s and 1990s, when well-meaning aid agencies acted like the boy who cried wolf.

"Famine," Hillbruner says, "is a word that gets thrown around a lot."

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Parallels
7:50 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Escaping South Sudan's Violence Often Means Going Hungry

Women carry sticks in Ganyliel, South Sudan, an area protected from the violence in the country due to its isolation. But food there is scarce.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 9:00 am

Even in an undeveloped country like South Sudan, Ganyliel can feel like the middle of nowhere: a bunch of tiny islands surrounded by a gigantic swampy floodplain fed by the River Nile during rainy season. To get here, I took a helicopter from the capital, then ditched my sneakers for gumboots. I've waded out into water that's too deep for an SUV and too shallow for a speedboat.

I board a canoe made from a hollowed-out palm tree.

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Africa
4:30 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Somalis In Kenya Are Used To Raids, But They Say This Was Different

Kenyan security officers rounded up people Friday as part of a crackdown that has swept up thousands of undocumented refugees, immigrants and Kenyan citizens of Somali descent in recent weeks.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Mohammed Ali Isaac's hands shook as he showed his Kenyan ID to the police officers. They let him pass, but his cousins weren't so lucky. The two women had forgotten their IDs at home, and the police were threatening to load them into one of three large trucks they'd brought for the purpose.

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Parallels
3:33 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Remembering Rwandans Who Followed Their Conscience

Godleaves Mukamunana, left, hid Domitil Mukakumuranga, in her house for weeks so that Hutu militias wouldn't kill her. "Seeing her alive is the best thing," Mukamunana says. "That kind of relationship we have is priceless. The fact that I don't have more like her --€” those who were killed — that's what's hurting."
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 4:10 pm

Olive Mukankusi lives in a two-room house with mud walls and a dirt floor in a village called Igati, in eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana province. To get there, you have to drive about 30 minutes down a dirt road.

It's there, in her home, on a warm and sunny afternoon, that she tells a story that she's only told three times in 20 years: first to a local judge, then to an American genocide researcher — and now.

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Africa
4:54 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Rwandan women hold candles during a night vigil and prayer for genocide victims at Amahoro stadium.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 7:46 am

After a minute of silence at noon, Monday's remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide began with testimony from a survivor.

The screaming started soon after.

In the crowd of 30,000 gathered in Amahoro stadium in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, first this person then that began to wail and thrash. Men in yellow vests took them to a special room of mattresses in the stadium basement.

In general, Rwandan culture discourages such outward displays of grief. But not during this time of year, when traumatic flashbacks are common.

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Africa
4:31 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Jewels Lie Beneath The Violence In The Central African Republic

A villager holds diamonds dug out from a mine outside the village of Sam Ouandja in northeast Central African Republic in 2007.
David Lewis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:08 pm

Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, when a Polish priest at the church simply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.

"They were so angry," Mbarta says. "They went back grumbling that the priest is not impartial. He is for the Muslims. He's not for the Christians."

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Parallels
5:32 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Will Helping Muslims Flee Central African Republic Aid 'Cleansing'?

Muslim women line up at a Red Cross distribution outside the mosque in Bouar. United Nations peacekeepers guard the mosque, where thousands of Muslim residents gather each evening for safety.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:58 pm

It is almost impossible to buy soap anymore in most small towns in the Central African Republic. Same with sugar, powdered milk, batteries, baby formula. Up until January, these kinds of imported goods — in the stratified society of this country — almost always would have been sold to you by a Muslim.

But for the past few weeks, bands of Christian militia groups called anti-Balaka have waged war on Muslims and their property.

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Parallels
3:40 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 1:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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Parallels
6:15 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

U.N. Refuge Prepares For Possible Attack In South Sudan

South Sudanese seek refuge at the United Nations compound in the capital, Juba, on Sunday. Though Juba is mostly peaceful now, growing numbers are seeking shelter at the compound in fear the ethnic killings will resume.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

The president of South Sudan spent Friday in a peace summit with regional heads of state, discussing the crisis that erupted last weekend after an alleged coup attempt. At the same time, the government warned of a shadowy rebel army, covered with white ash, marching through the jungle to re-attack the northern city of Bor.

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Africa
3:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Clashes Continue In South Sudan Despite Calls For Cease-Fire

South Sudanese troops have retaken the flashpoint town of Bor, north of the capital Juba.
James Akena Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:41 am

It was a somber Christmas day in South Sudan. Despite an appeal for a Christmas cease-fire from the African Union, government soldiers and rebels clashed in an oil-rich part of the country.

At a church in the capital of Juba, President Salva Kiir called for peace and unity. Even the leader's choice of clothing — traditional robes instead of army fatigues — seemed to signal that he wants to move past the violence.

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