South Sudan2021-09-20T10:53:30-04:00

MAF in South Sudan

South Sudan has few roads across its vast swampy plains, meaning aid and mission groups depend on MAF’s aircraft to reach people suffering through hunger, conflict and isolation

With a tropical climate and few roads across the country’s vast distances, MAF’s pioneers identified modern-day South Sudan as the African nation most in need of a flight service as early as 1948.

Regular operations began in 1950 with basic equipment, poor maps, and only intermittent radio communications. Nearly 70 years on, travelers to remote communities face many of the same challenges. The needs if anything, have only grown.

There were great hopes when the world’s youngest nation became independent from Sudan in July 2011. Tragically, renewed conflict in December 2013 has now resulted in what the UN has called ‘one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises’. Half of the population are in desperate need of immediate food or medical assistance and need long-term support to rebuild their livelihoods and get back on their feet.

The humanitarian need is made worse by the poor state of the nation’s roads. Travel over rutted mud tracks makes journeys time consuming, exhausting, and fraught with risk. Difficult terrain and geographical barriers like the Sudd, one of the world’s largest wetlands, hinder both travel and access to services for those who live there. Real dangers are posed by militias, bandits, road accidents and increasingly by unexploded ordnance from the ongoing civil war. Sometimes the road runs out completely – during the wet season roughly 60% of the country cannot be reached at all by road.

A three-hour flight for one of our humanitarian partners can save them a week’s journey overland in the dry season and a month in the wet season. It’s as simple as that!

We think our partners should be on the ground dispensing medical care or delivering therapeutic feeding programs – not counting days or weeks of lost time travelling to remote communities. Every flight makes a difference!

In the face of overwhelming need, MAF flights are enabling partners to treat patients, assist refugees, spread the Gospel, disciple believers, and provide education, healthcare, food, clean water and essential supplies, by flying them to their destination.

We are there to provide emergency evacuations when violence erupts.

I am often amazed at just how much difference MAF makes for Medair programmes when cargo is off-loaded at remote, hard to reach locations, be it boxes with therapeutic food for small children or spare parts for water installations.

Rebekka Meissner
Country Director,
MEDAIR South Sudan

Main base

Juba

Program began

1950

Aircraft used

Cessna 206 (x1)
Cessna 208 (x3)

Staff

12 international
55 national

Did you know?

We served 3,468 passengers across 88 locations in 2014, and work with 133 partner organisations

Main partners

AIM International
CMA
Every Village
Far Reaching Ministries
IMA World Health
Medair
Oxfam
Save the Children
Tearfund
WHO
World Vision

Canadians
serving in South Sudan

Chris and Karyn Ball

Chris & Karyn BALL
Pilot

Matt & Echo Marples

Matt & Echo MARPLES
Pilot

Reuben and Emma Vermeulen

Reuben & Emma VERMEULEN
Pilot

Stories about MAF in South Sudan

10 years of smiles in South Sudan

At the end of 2021, MAF pilots flew the length of South Sudan for the Samaritan’s Purse Cleft Lip program – celebrating 10 years of repair surgeries! […]

Passenger profile – Jasmine Biddell with MEDAIR

Jasmine Biddell is a Health Manager on the Medair Emergency Response Team. She recently flew with MAF to reach Nimule, South Sudan, where Medair were distributing kits so people who tested positive for Covid -19 could isolate at home. [...]

Breathing for babies

MAF South Sudan Maintenance Manager James Mollenhauer was asked to repair some vital equipment for the In Deed and Truth Hospital in Tonj. The four oxygen concentrators were flown to and from Tonj on MAF flights. […]

MAF in South Sudan