An Air Serv aircraft has departed Entebbe International Airport for South Sudan to support ongoing humanitarian relief efforts within the region.
The Cessna Grand Caravan took off from Entebbe on January 13, following an inspection by the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority. It will refuel and receive a second inspection in Juba, South Sudan, before continuing on 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.
The 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 for twenty-four months. Positioned along the boundary between the Dinka and Fertit tribes and encompassing a diverse population of minority tribes as well, 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 number of internally displaced people, food insecurity, and aid diversion.
Access to the area is limited, with road conditions being extremely poor where they even exist, and a railway from Khartoum which is no longer running. The Caravan will be utilizing 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 organizations working within the country.