Remembering photojournalist Camille Lepage

Central African Republic, South Sudan, May 14, 2014

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  • Photojournalist Camille Lepage documenting Mercy Corps' emergency response in the weeks after civil war broke out in South Sudan. Photo: Mathieu Rouquette/Mercy Corps

We at Mercy Corps were deeply saddened to hear the news yesterday of photojournalist Camille Lepage’s death in the Central African Republic (CAR).

I am especially in shock because a friend is gone, much too soon. I can only remember her smiling, laughing.

I met Camille when she first came to South Sudan in 2012. With her wit, her passion, her sense of humor, it was impossible not to connect with her.

She left for CAR last year, when very few were covering or paying attention to its forgotten crisis. I admired her unwavering commitment to give a voice to the voiceless and eyes for us to see.

Camille returned to South Sudan last January, to report on the civil war that had just erupted, and to help document our emergency response in the UN camps in the capital of Juba.

During those long hours when the strict curfew kept us holed up inside, we kept looking at her inspiring work, at the results of her innate yet still blossoming talent.

Her humility always struck me. I take pictures, though I’m not a photographer. She always complimented, encouraged and pushed me to tell stories of my work in South Sudan.

It is difficult for me to accept that her dedication to fight injustice was cut short by the worst injustice of all. Her beautiful life has been taken, stolen from this world.

This tragedy is a reminder of the very real danger that surrounds humanitarian work — and the sacrifices that people like Camille make to raise awareness and support for often difficult, but always necessary, efforts to relieve human suffering.

Camille will remain an inspiration to me, and to all of us at Mercy Corps. With courage, she defended the noblest cause of all: Just like us, she wanted to make the world a better place.

Below are some of the incredible images that Camille captured for Mercy Corps in South Sudan this past January: