Report by MAF UK’s Adrian Went
I have spent the last few weeks arranging many flights up to the camps near to the northern borders of South Sudan. This a disputed border with Sudan and there have been a number of battles and bombings which have forced thousands of people from their homes.
We carry a lot of staff, medicines, water pumping and building equipment for the organisations that run the camps. In other areas of South Sudan we fly for organisations, such as Christian Mission Aid, who work with local churches on outreach, aid, relief, health and community projects.
I was able to join a flight going 280 miles north of Juba to Jaibor taking a team to help with the work there. The staff live amongst the community in the square compound you can see from the picture – to the right of the runway as we landed.
They live far from any town and even a journey of 10 miles to the next village can take many hours. The only ways to reach Jaibor is by air, or by a Nile canoe on the river. The materials to construct their hospital ward, day centre and eye clinic (left to right below) have been flown there by MAF planes.
9 out of 10 would die
The whole area is often infested with sand flies which carry the parasitic disease kala-azar. This principally affects poor, remote communities such as Jaibor where there is limited access to healthcare and affordable drugs. We often carry the medicine to cure patients, when it is available, to various affected areas across South Sudan.
The medicine is expensive, but usually effective, however without treatment nine out of ten patients will die. Christian Mission Aid and other organisations provide this treatment whilst working with local churches are reaching out to people in a practical way and saving lives every day.
Please pray for the team as we help with the issues faced by those affected by the border conflict in South Sudan and for the safety of our flights as the rainy weather causes further difficulties in the air and on the runways. (We have pulled two planes from muddy parts on runways in the last few weeks!)
Please pray for the continuing safety of the team in Juba; whilst we are a long way from the border fighting we did have an attempted break-in at our compound that was prevented by a soldier living close to us, who fired warning shots, causing the robbers to run off.