Search
Close this search box.

Help Is On The Way, Sudan

A few weeks ago, a team from Citizen’s Call, (full name for the Emergency Evacuation of South Sudanese or CCEESS) were on the ground in Renk when a child died in front of them from dehydration and hunger. Exhausted and traumatised by her escape from Khartoum, the desperate young mother, arrived in Renk only to face a new kind of heartbreak as she cradles her only child.


It was hard to forget that moment for Akoch Manheim from Citizen’s Call, who returned to Juba to rally a response to the brutal conflict unfolding in Sudan’s Capital Khartoum, since 15 April.
Two weeks, later, this is the second load of cargo Citizen’s Call has entrusted to MAF. The first, carried on a flight last week, was comprised mostly of medical supplies. ‘This freight is made up of medicine and therapeutic food for distribution in the camps around Renk,’ explains the Citizen’s Call Chairperson. He is working hard to make sure that the refugee needs are met.

Refugees from Sudan continue to arrive at the border every day. In Khartoum, an active warzone, and other parts of the country, the situation is becoming increasingly desperate – with access to food, water, electricity, and healthcare at crisis point.


Akoch explains that Citizen’s Call is helping both sides of the border. He is working with colleagues to arrange the trucks which have evacuated 6,600 people so far, taking advantage of every ceasefire to help people flee. With an estimated 800,000 South Sudanese registered as refugees in Sudan at the outbreak of war, and may more residing in the county for work, education, and medical reasons, they could be at the beginning of a very long response.


People are fleeing Sudan with little more than the clothes on their back. What they find in Renk is safety, and organisations who are working hard to meet their basic needs for food, water, medical care, toilet facilities and onward transit to their places of origin. The response has only recently stepped up.


Getting food and medicine to the people in Renk is becoming increasingly vital. Soaring prices at the market reflect the fact that the trade route bringing supplies from Sudan, has all but dried up. Meanwhile the muddy wet-season roads will continue to stop trucks in their tracks for at least the next five months. At the river ports along the Nile, river barges require armed escorts to ensure safe passage of people and freight from Malakal heading South. Renk is six-hundred very long miles from South Sudan’s capital Juba if you are travelling by boat or by road.

In comparison, the three-hour flight to Renk, is relatively safe and straightforward, although the wet season weather can be challenging as Pilot Andy Mac Donald explains. ‘I was expecting a few storms on Tuesday having had to turn back due to weather, the previous day – thankfully, I only encountered a large overcast layer and was able request weather reports from the Red Cross De Haviland buffalo flying ahead of me,’ Pilot Andy Macdonald reports.


Andy shared what he saw on the ground in Renk. ‘The airspace over Renk was busy with three aircraft taking off in the 10-15 minutes before I landed. On the ground the massive UN MI 26 Helicopter, which can carry 20 tons of freight took up the whole of the apron. The activity at the airstrip and the presence of UN peacekeepers shows that the response is starting to pick up.’

As a MAF pilot, loading and unloading cargo is bread and butter work, there is little time for reflection as Andy explains. ‘Single crew operations keep the pilots pretty focused on the ground. Afterwards, when you have time to stop and reflect on the reality facing the people, you realise how much the boxes of food and medicine are needed. They will benefit people like the couple of dozen refugees camping in the bushes towards the end of the runway looking for a way to leave this nightmare behind.’


‘The boxes of cargo, I unloaded were an equal split of medicine and therapeutic food, that will meet the needs of people in some of the camps in Renk Town where refugees living alongside the host community. The sachets will be given to children. Each sachet, made from peanuts, milk and whey protein, provides exactly 500 calories of nutrition to a child over 6 months old suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition. One box containing around 150 sachets, will treat one child for the 6-8 weeks it takes for them to recover. It may not seem like much, but 10 boxes will help ten vulnerable children survive a conflict they are too young to understand. That’s about the number of passengers we can evacuate on a flight.’


Emergency response in such a remote location means long tiring days for the pilots. With his cargo unloaded, Andy was keen to get back in the air for a return flight that was far from straightforward ‘The wind at the airstrip indicated there would be storms to the south. The return flight meant two hours of active navigation to avoid storm activity on the way back. That a three-hour flight is the safest and easiest option, speaks volumes about the size of the challenges facing the people in Renk,’ he reflects.


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 to MAF

Banking Details:
Account Name: Mission Aviation Fellowship
Standard Bank | Greenstone Branch
Branch code: 016342 | Account number: 020044615
Reference: Your Name + ‘SUDAN’
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ

Share This Post

More To Explore

MAF SA Newsletter Vol.7 No.1 2024

Just Landed! Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a curated collection of our latest stories showcasing the impactful work happening in MAF programmes across the globe. Gain insight into the endeavors of our dedicated missionaries, and tap into the prayer requests spanning the MAF community. All in MAFSA’s first-quarter digital magazine for 2024.

Read More »
MAF SA Digital Newsletter Christmas 2023

MAF SA Newsletter Vol.6 No.4 2023

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a curated collection of our latest stories showcasing the impactful work happening in MAF programmes across the globe. Gain insight into the endeavors of our dedicated missionaries, and tap into the prayer requests spanning the MAF community. All in MAFSA’s fourth-quarter digital magazine for 2023, our Christmas Edition. With a few festive gift ideas to fuel our wings!

Read More »

Thank you so much for choosing to partner with MAF financially.

A GIFT JUST FOR YOU!

Here is your FREE excerpt from our bestselling book ‘A Bush Pilot’s Logbook’. This is the biography of a man trained in war who returned home to become a man of peace and mercy.

Subscribe to our emails now and receive your FREE pdf excerpt!

Fill in the details below and we will get back to you shortly

Complete the form below and we will be in touch to tell you how you can start the journey.

Complete the form below and we will be in touch to tell you how you can start the journey.

Complete the form below and we will be in touch to tell you how you can start the journey.

Complete the form below and we will be in touch to tell you how you can start the journey.

HELP REACH ISOLATED PEOPLE

For nearly 75 years we’ve been reaching people in remote areas through aviation.

Join thousands of others in our quest to see the people who are often forgotten, reached with hope, help and healing.

We won’t spam your inbox, promise ;)

Please fill out the form and we will get back to you shortly

“Thank you so much for choosing to partner with MAF financially. Please fill in the form below to notify us that you would like to create a debit order with MAF. ”

— Maxine Holman, CEO or MAF SA

Please fill out the form and we will get back to you shortly