Drum Cussac evacuates World Relief personnel in South Sudan

Case study

The client

World Relief is an NGO that provides humanitarian aid and disaster and emergency relief across the globe.

The organisation receives travel security support from Drum Cussac as a complement to medical cover from our partner Generali Global Assistance, formerly known as Europ Assistance.

The situation

Since becoming an independent state in 2011, The Republic of South Sudan has seen persistent internal conflict. The state has a risk rating of ‘Extreme’ in our GlobalRiskManager™ platform, so it’s vital that non-profit organisations, such as World Relief, take every step to keep their field workers safe.

On the 8th of July in 2016, the deaths of five government soldiers at the hands of former rebel fighters sparked an alert in RiskMonitor, ensuring World Relief were among the first to know of the potential threat to its people.

Our response

With civil war once more rearing its ugly head in the Sudanese capital of Juba, our PeopleMonitor technology played a vital role in helping World Relief identify who it had in the area, alerting these field workers to the situation and providing ongoing, real-time advice to keep them safe.

During this highly volatile situation, we utilised PeopleMonitor’s two-way communications functionality to provide ongoing warnings of severe travel disruptions directly the affected field workers, including delayed, suspended and cancelled flights caused by the temporary closure of Juba airport. Travellers who attempted to reach the airport were also alerted to roadblocks and checkpoints en route.

As conditions rapidly went from bad to worse, widespread looting broke out, hundreds were killed or injured and thousands more sought sanctuary with the UN.

David Jeffree, World Relief’s in-house Security Manager, called on our Global Operations Centre for assistance. With World Relief personnel already being evacuated, we were tasked to evacuate a further six expatriate employees out of the country and to relocate a seventh employee, a South Sudanese national, to safety. Four of these personnel were based in Juba and three were based in Old Fangak, a remote village in the north of the country.

Our Operations team provided immediate security advice and then monitored the World Relief personnel through our OverWatch service, managing events in real-time via GlobalRiskManager™. Our Operations teams also regularly called to check on the World Relief employees’ welfare and to keep them up to speed on the changing situation. Alongside this, we worked with on-the-ground resources to organise a swift, safe evacuation.

The Outcome

With the city of Juba in lockdown, and a de facto curfew limiting movement to daytime only, we had to wait until a safe window of opportunity opened up. With lives on the line and little room for error, GlobalRiskManager™’s incident management tools and centralised situational intelligence proved invaluable during these critical moments.

Once the situation stabilised, two separate evacuations were carried out: first was the evacuation of four staff from Juba; and the second was the evacuation of three staff from isolated Old Fangak.

On the 13th July, we chartered a 9-seater Cessna light aircraft to fly into Juba from Nairobi, Kenya. At the same time, we arranged for a close protection officer and a security trained driver to escort the four expatriate employees from their Juba compound to the airport.

These security personnel remained at the airport with the World Relief staff until take-off, which was of great reassurance to the travellers. Three hours later, the Cessna touched down safely in Nairobi, where World Relief has a regional office.

Three days later, we chartered a Dornier 228 through a local provider to fly into the remote air strip at Old Fangak to pick up two more expatriate personnel as well as a South Sudanese employee.

Here, there were natural obstacles to overcome. Despite an airstrip inspection, heavy rains meant the Dornier became stuck in the mud on the outskirts of the runway. Thankfully, the local community lent a hand in extracting the aircraft and the Dornier was able to drop off the South Sudanese national in Juba and complete customs, before flying into Nairobi to repatriate the two expatriate staff.

“Drum Cussac gave us every support, from arranging a secure, safe pick-up and transfer to the airport, to smoothing our people’s passage through immigration, to organising enjoyable, stress-free flights out of the country.

One of the main contributing factors to the overall success of the project was that communications were streamlined, timely and accurate – in short, Drum Cussac conducted a highly professional operation.”

David Jeffree, World Relief

Key actions

  • Real-time alerts and advice through RiskMonitor and PeopleMonitor
  • Security advice and crisis management guidance from Drum Cussac’s Global Operations Manager
  • Dedicated 24/7 team of security specialists coordinating all activities from the Global Operations Centre via GlobalRiskManager™
  • Provision of OverWatch service and situation monitoring throughout
  • Ongoing calls to check on the World Relief team’s welfare
  • Safe transfer of personnel within South Sudan and evacuation to Nairobi

As a travel risk management and security specialist, Drum Cussac’s core business is protecting our clients’ assets and employees travelling or located anywhere in the world. Our research and intelligence capability keeps clients up to speed on fast moving global risk and security related events.

We also provide 24/7 emergency, crisis and advisory support during incidents or at periods of heightened uncertainty, insecurity and instability.