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Air Serv declares humanitarian mission a successAir Serv declares humanitarian mission a success

Humanitarian nonprofit organization Air Serv International announced the conclusion of its four-year program providing aviation services to help reduce chronic health issues in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Air Serve International pilots are surrounded by a welcoming and curious group of villagers. Photo by Chris Rose.

The program, in which Air Serv flew a Cessna 208 single-engine turboprop on 845 missions to support the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), “aided in the treatment of outbreaks of cholera, chicken pox, measles, malaria, and monitored any potential for Ebola,” the organization said.

“In most industries, the closure of a program is considered negative, but in the humanitarian sector, it’s regarded as a success,” said Stu Willcuts, Air Serv's CEO, “We specialize in humanitarian aid and when our services are no longer needed to address an immediate or long-term crisis, we have done our jobs.”

Air Serv’s Bunia missions, flown starting in July 2013, totaled 2,891 flight hours to communities within one or two hours’ flying time from Bunia and nearly inaccessible by ground transportation because of the near-impassability of the very few roads in the area.

In early July, Air Serv relocated resources to Kananga, currently the site of the greatest needs, with more than 130,000 persons “displaced due to internal conflict,” Air Serv said.

“As urgent medical needs have become apparent in other parts of the DRC, the allocation of resources had to be reviewed,” Air Serv’s announcement said. “Even though the DRC is a severely under-resourced country with massive gaps in most sectors, the geographic locations served with this MSF/ASI project were better off than elsewhere. Once MSF determined that areas served by the Bunia program were no long under immediate threat and that other regions currently have a greater need, the decision was made for relocation.”

Air Serv continues serving other Medecins Sans Frontieres programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as other countries, while also currently working to position aircraft in Somalia and South Sudan to assist the nongovernmental organization community’s famine response efforts.

With a fleet of seven Cessna Caravans, Air Serv specializes in “last mile” air transportation in support of humanitarian programs, and also provides commercial air charter, facilities, aircraft maintenance, and consultation services.

Topics: Public Benefit Flying

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