|By AFHQ, 14 January 2014 10:04:11|
A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster has landed in South Sudan carrying critical equipment and supplies to support the United Nations’ mission in the country.
Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss announced on 26 December 2013, that the Australian Government offered a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster to the United Nations to support the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) following attacks on civilians and UN personnel.
The RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft began its mission in Brindisi, Italy before flying to the South Sudanese capital of Juba via Djibouti on the Horn of Africa on Friday 3 January. Defence will continue to support the UN in South Sudan with several more C-17A Globemaster flights planned in the coming days.
Captain of the C-17A Globemaster, Flight Lieutenant Luke Ridgway said the aircraft was loaded with essential supplies for the UN’s operation.
It consists of three containers of tents, water purification and sanitation vital for displaced people within South Sudan,” he said.
“In Italy we’ve had a large amount of support from the United Nations and the local Italian military. In conjunction with the base command and the UN we prepared the aircraft and have now delivered the much needed cargo.
“To use our skills to deliver aid to people who really need it is very humbling,” Flight Lieutenant Ridgway said.
The UN Global Service Centre Director, Nicholas Von Ruben, said the equipment was vital.
“We have thousands of displaced people in South Sudan. Many of those have sought refuge in our camps and we’re now sending out relief supplies and equipment we need to support the people.
“Flying it in is by far the quickest and safest way to deliver the equipment.
“We’re grateful to the Australian Government for providing this support at such short notice,” he said.
An RAAF Air Operations officer with the UN’s Mission in South Sudan, Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Winter said the Australian Defence Force support has been important for the UN mission.
“These supplies are extremely important and they will be distributed across the country to provide support to the outlining bases and towns.”
The Australian Government’s provision of airlift support to the mission in South Sudan has been warmly received by the United Nation’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nation’s Security Council.
An additional RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates remains available to support the United Nations as required.
These RAAF aircraft are equipped and crewed to support UNMISS and are prepared to operate in the threat environment expected in South Sudan.
Defence, along with other government agencies, continues to monitor the security situation in South Sudan.
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