Sunday, October 27, 2013

Security in South Sudan

On the news recently, there have been stories of violence, border disputes, and killings in South Sudan.  Many people (including my parents) have asked me if I'll be safe when I go to South Sudan in December to volunteer with the Alaska Sudan Medical Project (ASMP).  The Program Director for ASMP provided some good background on the security situation in the small village I'll be staying in for 3.5 weeks.  I feel that I will be safe when I travel there, and I really trust the ASMP team.  See what he wrote about security below:

"The area that we work in has been safe for several years. In the past this is area has not been a particular security risk. Most of the risks related to any miiitary or militia activity is far to the north near the border, and far to the south near Pibor county.

'The government of South Sudan has been aware of Dr. Jill and ASMP's prescence in Old Fangak for many years. There is a small contingency of government troops in Old Fangak whose job it is to provide peace and security in the area. 

"With that said, this is South Sudan, and as many places in the world, security can not entirely be guaranteed. To mitigate risks, ASMP is in constant communication with those in the village including Dr. Jill to stay apprised of any developing security risks. We have a rapid evacuation plan in case anything should arise, which includes rapid, immediate deployment by planes operated by Mission Aviation Fellowship, who can reach Old Fangak in a relatively short period of time. This safety plan also covers medical emergencies. Also, if we anticipate security risks, we will not send in volunteers. About three years ago we did this for one group, however it was only out of extreme caution."

I hope this puts you at ease; it certainly helps me feel better about the trip.  From my experience in Peace Corps, I know that often violence can be concentrated in urban areas and in the small, rural villages, there are no issues.
To date, I've raised $4,400!  I'm going to increase my fundraising goal from $4,500 to $5,000; just for the challenge!  Please pass on my Fundraising Web Page to anyone you think might be interested in my project!

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