March 27, 2015 (by Asif Shamim) - An RAF C-130J aircraft #ZH867 departed on March 26th from RAF Brize Norton, on a UN mission to deliver vital supplies to remote Malakal in South Sudan.
RAF C-130J #ZH867 is seen arriving in Juba on March 28, 2015 as part of the first deployment from the RAF to support the air transportation fleet of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). [UN Photo by JC McIlwaine]
This is the first deployment of a UK C-130 to the UN in Africa as part of the UN’s Air Transport Fleet. The aircraft, which has been deployed with a small support team, will conduct several flights between Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and the remote northern town of Malakal, in support of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). This will enable the delivery of vital loads of food, water and building supplies to UN camps.
The C-130 is desperately needed both to help the UN’s transport infrastructure which is in great demand, and to provide critical supplies to a country in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The civil war in South Sudan has given rise to 112,000 internally displaced civilians seeking shelter in UN camps, particularly Malakal.
Group Captain Polly Perkins, Head of Establishment for RAF Brize Norton said:
"The station is proud to be providing this crucial UK contribution towards UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan. This deployment demonstrates our capability and commitment to provide humanitarian and security assistance, where ever in the world we’re needed."
The operation is expected to last until mid-April, and will form a key part of the UK’s wider engagement with the UN, including the 14 staff officers currently on secondment in African missions, 4 of them in UNMISS, and the 264 British troops contributed to the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.