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IOM Charter Flight Carrying Relief Supplies Crashes in South Sudan

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On 17th February a cargo plane chartered by IOM carrying relief supplies from the South Sudanese capital Juba to Bentiu in Unity State crashed on landing at the Rubkona airstrip.

The wing of the plane collided with two vehicles parked on the runway, resulting in a fire. One crew member from the charter company was killed and three were injured. The surviving crew members have been evacuated by UNMISS – the UN peace keeping force – to Juba.

“We are very saddened by this tragic accident,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission David Derthick. “The members of the air crew have been vital in helping aid to reach some of South Sudan's most vulnerable people.”

The relief was destined for people displaced by fighting between government and rebel troops that began on December 15th. There are currently some 3,239 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering in the UNMISS base in Bentiu.

IOM has a clinic on the base and will be starting a mobile clinic in the town this month. It is also now registering IDPs outside the base.

IOM began an air operation on 31 January to deliver aid to displaced people in parts of South Sudan most seriously affected by the ongoing crisis, including the towns of Malakal, Bor and Bentiu.

Before yesterday's crash, it successfully completed 27 flights carrying some 154 tonnes of cargo, including drinking water, hygiene and sanitation equipment, medicine, shelter materials and relief supplies including blankets, kitchen sets, soap, buckets and mosquito nets.