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Sudan Crisis

MAF Steps Up Disaster Response

‘The situation in Sudan is forcing more and more people to flee. MAF is providing excellent support for NGOs who are responding to the build-up of refugees in the north. We’re devoting more resources and personnel to help meet the needs on the ground.'

As thousands of people continue to pour into neighbouring South Sudan to escape Sudan’s conflict, MAF is stepping up its response to support them. Since 19 June, MAF has been relocating the most vulnerable refugees from Renk’s transit camps and delivering much needed medical supplies and food aid. MAF’s Jenny Davies reports

Three months on, over 3 million people have been displaced and thousands have been killed or wounded since fighting broke out in Sudan on 15 April.

To date, over 175,000 refugees have entered South Sudan with more than 40,000 new arrivals in Renk – a cluster of transit camps near the border, which aim to relocate refugees to safety across South Sudan as quickly as possible (source: UN).

MAF is focusing its efforts in Renk because – unlike other South Sudanese border towns – it lacks onward overland transport options.

MAF is currently flying to Renk at least once a week, relocating refugees and delivering much needed medical supplies and food aid. To date, MAF has delivered over 1.2 tonnes of aid including 500kg of medicine.

MAF is focusing on the most vulnerable.

MAF is one of several flight operators relocating refugees from Renk. Around 1,000 refugees are reportedly arriving in Renk by truck from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, every day. MAF is focusing on the most vulnerable people.

On 4 July, MAF pilot Jonathon Pound relocated 16 refugees to South Sudan’s capital, Juba and on 19 June, MAF’s Andy MacDonald relocated 11 refugees.


MAF’s three-hour journey from Renk to Juba including mandatory refuelling via Malakal, is the safest and easiest travel option to relocate refugees to the capital.


Travelling to Juba with MAF avoids 600 miles of difficult terrain, whether it’s many hours of dangerous driving on pot-holed ridden dirt tracks or precarious boat crossings.

MAF is also flying refugees to Malakal – en-route to Juba – where they can access good transport links to other parts of South Sudan. MAF pilot Jonathan Pound is only too happy to help:

‘I find it very rewarding. I’m just overjoyed to be part of the process of bringing refugees to safety. Flights like these are part of the reason I became a pilot in the first place. I love the fact we can fill the plane right up with people. No spare seats!’

Measles and flooding

Housing refugees is not without its challenges.


Renk’s transit camps are reportedly battling a measles outbreak, with many refugee children already infected with the disease before they crossed the border.


The rainy season is also hampering relief efforts. The transit camps have flooded and dirt tracks to Renk Airstrip with vehicles carrying refugees, have turned into mud sighs Jonathan:

‘It’s been raining a lot. The four-wheel drive was just sliding all over the place. I’m sure it was a very muddy, slippery, slow journey to the airstrip. Thankfully they managed to get through. They all look very happy to be on the plane.’

Living conditions at the camps are appalling


Many refugees are fleeing Sudan with little more than the clothes on their back.


After their ordeal of escaping conflict, new arrivals in Renk are then faced with appalling living conditions such as limited food supplies, not enough clean drinking water and inadequate healthcare and sanitation.


Substandard shelter is a huge problem says Tobias:

‘We saw one of the big tents set up to house refugees – it’s currently home to 23 families!


‘Then there’s the area outside the transit camps – people are just camping under bushes using every available space. They’re staying in some pretty challenging conditions.’

There is much suffering in the camps – children are reportedly dying from preventable causes like hunger and dehydration.

Akoch Manheim, Chair of Citizens’ Call and his team, recently witnessed this firsthand when a child died right in front of them.

As rain engulfs the region for the next five months making roads increasingly impassable, getting food and medicine to Renk by air is more critical than ever.


MAF’s Global Disaster Response team are closely monitoring the situation in Sudan. If and when demands from partner NGOs increase, MAF will look to increase the number of flights in the coming weeks subject to funding.

Sudan Crisis Stories

Sudan Crisis

MAF Helps Reach Refugees in Renk, South Sudan

Dr Paul Gal Atem Managing Director of Sudanese NGO, Concern, South Sudan, flew with MAF and a team from an initiative called The Citizen’s Call for the Emergency Evacuation and Reception of South Sudanese Trapped in the Sudan’s War, to the border town of Renk, where refugees are fleeing the Sudan conflict in their thousands. The organisations were assigned the task of reporting on needs on the ground by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.

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Operation Evacuation, Sudan

On Tuesday, 4 July, 16 refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan arrived in Juba on a MAF flight from Renk organised by Citizens Call -Emergency Response Rehabilitation Initiative (ERRI). For Pilot Jonathon Pound, it was a 6 hour round flight battling weather on the outbound journey and the clock on the way back.

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Seeing the Need, Sudan

On Thursday Pilot Tobias flew a team from Dutch NGO Cordaid to Renk and spent three hours on the ground with them as they visited the transit camp where thousands of people are arriving every day. He shared an account of his trip.

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Every Home for Christ, Sudan

Amongst the passengers who boarded the flight back from Renk on Thursday 6 July was Pastor Deng Anum Deng and Pastor George James Kong from As an International Christian Ministry Every Home for Christ (EHC). The pastors were returning after spending seventeen days in Renk where their organisation has a church plant reaching the diverse communities of Upper Nile State.

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Join the disaster response team

Partner with MAF and invest in our Sudan Crisis Project to fly help, hope and healing to some of the most vulnerable.

Donate via EFT

Account Name: Mission Aviation Fellowship
Standard Bank Greenstone Branch
Branch code: 016342
Account number: 020044615
Reference: Your name + SUDAN
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ

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