During the violence that erupted during heavy fighting in South Sudan in December 2013, WorldAware provided real-time intelligence and analysis, monitoring and advice, and operational assistance to numerous clients based in the country. This included preparing clients with up to the moment situational updates, monitoring changing, volatile conditions and establishing direct communications with client personnel, and responding to threats by coordinating safe havens and security evacuations.
On December 18th 2013, amidst a deteriorating security situation, which included a curfew and the temporary closing of Juba International Airport, WorldAware successfully evacuated remaining clients within the first three hours of the reopening of Juba’s airport, enabling them to be one of the first groups evacuated without harm.
On the eve of December 15th 2013, fierce fighting broke out between various armed ethnic factions in Juba. Organizations with operational and personnel assets were advised by WorldAware to defer all nonessential travel to South Sudan, review and communicate contingency plans, and maintain contact with diplomatic missions. Over 500 people were killed and more than 800 were wounded in the first two days of violence alone, while thousands of others sought refuge at bases belonging to the UN. Deadly attacks and intermittent fighting created conditions that required swift action in order to safely evacuate WorldAware clients working on behalf of several NGO’s. These personnel, some with families, were interspersed throughout the country.
Upon the immediate closure of the Juba airport, several clients crossed the country’s borders into secure areas; however, with a mounting refugee population also seeking safe passage, these borders were soon sealed.
Those who remained in Juba at this point consisted of seven personnel who were consolidated in a safe haven as WorldAware coordinated logistics for secure transport to the airport. Upon word from WorldAware’s vetted on-the-ground resources that Juba’s airport had re-opened, WorldAware realized a brief window of opportunity had arrived. Within three hours, a 15-seat light passenger aircraft was dispatched from Nairobi, Kenya, landed in Juba, collected WorldAware clients, and safely departed, all under compressed timelines. The security situation was continuously monitored even after evacuees had safely exited the country.
WorldAware’s 24x7 Intelligence and Global Response Operations monitored the rising tensions in South Sudan and provided round the clock alerts, updates and safety advice to clients, ensuring they possessed up-to-the moment insights in a highly fluid and hostile environment. On the ground resources were mobilized in support of clients by establishing contingency plans for communications, redundancy, primary and alternate and tertiary routes and safe havens. Clients were at risk of being of caught in open crossfire on roads as well as being a target of rebels, who could potentially shoot aircraft down. However, WorldAware’s direct command and control of the mission from its headquarters in Annapolis, MD, provided the leadership, expertise, cultural competency and network of vetted partners needed to maneuver clients out of dangerous territory, thereby potentially saving the lives of remaining personnel in Juba.
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