A team of Indian military engineers in South Sudan has been lauded for rehabilitating a stretch of an airport runway in Malakal used by the UN mission to transport peacekeepers and cargo. A report on the website of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said the Indian Horizontal Military Engineering Company recently rehabilitated approximately 2km of the airport runway in the town in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan after an inspection by air safety experts found “serious and threatening damages on the runway surface”.
UNMISS Sector Commander Brigadier General Xie said the emergency repairs would have “a long-term impact on the local population” and applauded the engineers for a “job well done”. Using heavy engineering vehicles and other heavy duty equipment, the team repaired sections of the landing tarmac to allow air operations to resume swiftly. With over 50 daily landings and takeoffs, the airport is used by the United Nations mission in South Sudan to transport peacekeepers and cargo. The airport is also used by humanitarian aid workers, local government officials and other travellers.
Due to poor road networks in the Upper Nile region, the airport in Malakal also serves as a lifeline connecting the town to other parts of the country. Operations are at risk if the airstrip is in a bad condition, the report said, adding that the prompt and timely response by the UN Mission was appreciated by the airport management and government officials from the region. There are currently over thirty thousand civilians seeking safety in the UNMISS site next to the UN base in Malakal, the report said.