An Air Serv Grand Caravan recently departed Entebbe International airport in Uganda for South Sudan to support ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in the region. The aircraft took off following an inspection by the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority and made its way to Juba to refuel and undergo a second inspection before heading to its final destination in Wau.
South Sudan marked five years of civil war in December 2018 and experts estimate that there are currently 2.5 million refugees and 1.8 million internally displaced people within the country. Despite a peace deal signed between the South Sudanese government and the opposition in September 2018, violence continues and the humanitarian crisis has escalated.
Air Serv's aircraft will be based with a team of six in Wau, located approximately 400 miles northwest of the capital Juba, and is expected to remain there for 24 months. Positioned along the boundary between the Dinka and Fertit tribes and encompassing a diverse population of minority tribes, Wau has been the site of heavy tribal clashes and ethnic violence. Aid workers and peacekeepers are faced with addressing the difficult and crowded living conditions for the resulting mass of internally displaced people, food insecurity and aid diversion.
Access to the area is limited, with road conditions being extremely poor or non-existent, and the railway from Khartoum no longer operates. The Grand Caravan will use a single unpaved runway, northeast of the city. This will be the second Air Serv aircraft in South Sudan, joining a Caravan which was positioned in Juba several months ago to assist a third party in providing support and transport for aid organisations working within the country.
With a fleet of five Cessna Caravans, Air Serv specialises in ‘last mile’ air transportation in support of humanitarian programmes. In addition to charter, facilities, maintenance, and consulting services, Air Serv is dedicated to providing response capabilities for organisations operating in disaster areas.