Many of you may have heard on the news (see BBC news - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27116409) about the renewed fighting in South Sudan over the last couple of weeks including the attack on the UN compound in Bor. Our team in South Sudan provided emergency evacuations to several key partners over the Easter period, including Medair and IMA World Health.
On Good Friday (18th April), pilot Mike Dupuis flew to Renk to collect Medair aid agency’s workers at risk of being caught in the escalating violence. UN soldiers supervised the boarding of the aircraft and Mike had to contend with stormy weather conditions on both legs of the journey.
Rebekka Meissner, interim country director for Medair South Sudan, said: “I can recall many times when MAF has unflinchingly flown out a staff member who needed medical attention or even a whole team when we had concerns about their safety. I am so grateful for our partnership with MAF as we serve in these isolated places. “I am often amazed at just how much difference MAF makes for Medair programmes when cargo is off-loaded at remote, hard to reach locations, be it boxes with therapeutic food for small children or spare parts for water installations. These and many other items help us bring lifesaving relief to very vulnerable people.”
The previous day, Mike’s colleague Ryan Unger was diverted to Bor to take staff from a Polish NGO back to Juba because of the troubles. As the passengers were boarding, he was approached by a doctor who asked if he could accommodate four of his patients suffering bullet wounds who desperately needed medical assistance available in the capital. They had been caught in a bloody attack near the UN compound and Ryan learned later through reports that another 60 people had been killed or injured in the same protest.
Ryan then flew to the Paloich oil strip on Tuesday this week to collect staff from IMA World Health, who had sheltered with the UN over the weekend, some of the time in armoured vehicles for safety.
Please continue to pray for the safety of our team in South Sudan and our partners who are working tirelessly to provide such important medical aid and humanitarian relief in such difficult and hostile conditions. Please also pray that the peace negotiations will resume shortly and be successful.