MAF in Sudan
On the initial survey flight by Stuart King and Jack Hemmings (co-founders of MAF United Kingdom), Sudan was identified as the country most in need of a service like MAF.
Mission Aviation Fellow began flight operations in Sudan in 1950 but 14 years later all missions were forced to leave due to civil war. A respite in the war allowed flights to resume in 1977 for a further 6 years but since 1983, flying into Sudan has continued from the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda.
Following the 2005 peace agreement, MAF opened an operation in Juba, a former garrison town of the northern Sudanese Government and now the capital of southern Sudan. Several NGOs and the UN have moved into Juba, and the Government of southern Sudan is also operating from here. Gradually missions and NGOs are moving their Sudan operations fully into the country. As they rely on us to support their work, there was an increasing need to quickly become established. Flights for Sudan continued from Lokichoggio, Kenya, (with pilots occasionally staying over night in Juba), and Kampala, Uganda until 2012 when the Loki base was closed and remaining operations moved to Juba in the new country of South Sudan. January 01, 2014 saw the establishment of a separate MAF South Sudan program with a growing emphasis on supporting the local NGO’s and church. Aircraft continue to be Kenya registered until such time as the fledgling country establishes a recognized civil aviation authority. MAF South Sudan works closely with MAF Kenya as well as MAF Uganda which also operate into South Sudan on a regular basis.
MAF in South Sudan serves many of the Christian and church agencies working in development and rehabilitation projects. MAF aircraft carry relief and development workers, missionaries and essential supplies into remote communities. Without us they would be severely hampered in delivering humanitarian aid. The few existing roads are very poor and unusable in the wet season. Most are plagued with banditry.
Along with World Relief, we established accommodation and offices in Juba. In the beginning, MAF staff lived in a renovated house on the SIL compound, working from a prefabricated office. The new office and houses are now established on land owned by the Episcopal Church of Sudan and can accomodate families. School-aged children have a small school-house for distance learning and home-schooling and efforts are underway to establish a permanent International School.
In these early days much revolves around getting permissions and infrastructure in place to allow the eventual basing of planes and more staff in the rapidly growing city. As people pour back into the country, it is also a time for establishing relationships that will last an eternity.
MAF registered as an NGO with the Government of southern Sudan in May 2006. A temporary Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) was granted for the Kenyan aircraft operating in Sudan in January 2007. All MAF aircraft operating in southern Sudan are registered in Kenya . There are now more than 10 international staff members (plus family) and 18 national staff members supporting the base and flight operations.
Types of flying MAF does in South Sudan:
Medical emergencies, Development work, Churches, Missions
Organizations served by MAF in South Sudan:
Christian Blind Mission (CBM)
Christian Mission Aid (CMA)
ACROSS, Catholic Relief Services
ADRA, IMA World Health, Save the Children,
plus a large number of International churches as well as national churches and diocese in South Sudan.
Sudan has the 31st lowest Human Development Index rating in the world
- Population: 40,218,455 (UK: 61 million)
- Birth rate: 34 births/1,000 population (UK: 11 births/1,000)
- Life expectancy at birth: 49 years (UK: 79 years)
- Population under 15 years: 42% (UK: 17%)
- High infant mortality: more than 1 in 12 die at birth (UK: 1 in 200 die at birth)
- Population below the poverty line: 40%
- HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 2.3% of population (UK: 0.2%)
- Literacy rate: 61.1% (UK: 99%)
Civil war has crippled the infrastructure; much of Africa’s largest country is without roads
- Area of the country: 967,498 sq miles (UK: 94,525 sq miles)
- 7,394 miles of roads, but only 2,684 miles of paved roads (UK: 241,104 miles – all paved)
- 101 airstrips, of which only 16 are paved
Hit hard by years of civil war, Sudan’s struggling economy faces formidable problems with many of the population living in dire poverty
- 80% of the population employed in agriculture, fishing and forestry
- Main exports include oil and petroleum products, cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic and sugar
Sudan’s faces a number of serious environmental threats
- Inadequate supplies of drinkable water
- Wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting
- Soil erosion and desertification due to over-cultivation of fragile soils combined with a windy, arid climate
- Periodic drought
A varied climate from tropical in the south to arid desert in the north, the country faces harsh conditions
- Dust storms
- Periodic persistent droughts
There is a divide between the largely Christian south and the Islamic north
- Sunni Muslim: 70% (in north)
- indigenous beliefs: 25%
- Christian: 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)