• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 37s

Volunteers from South Sudan back in Alaska

By Alexis Fernandez 9:10 PM December 27, 2013

The group has just finished drilling several wells when violence erupted

ANCHORAGE - As the violence continues in South Sudan, thousands of volunteers who were evacuated as a safety precaution are headed to their respective homes, including one group of volunteers from Alaska.

When violence erupted in Juba — the country’s capital — nearly two weeks ago, Robert Crotty was part of the Alaska Sudan Medical Project helping in the village of Old Fangak.

The group had just finished drilling several wells when the day was disrupted.

“We were getting ready to go down river to visit villages about an hour away because they asked us to drill them some wells — we had some more time, when all hell broke loose,” Crotty said.

In Juba, about 300 miles south of the village, heavy gunfire began erupting between the Dinka and Nuer tribes.

Violence quickly spread to other villages, the closest to them was about 100 miles away.

“We’ve never felt like we were in harms way — we had good communication with the outside world,” Crotty said.

After several days, project leaders decided it was time to go.

“Made the decision, rightfully so, that it was important to pull us out before we were in harms way, which I’m very appreciative of,” he said.

But it wasn’t that easy. With the main airport in Juba closed, the group had to charter a plane from Uganda to bypass Juba. About eight hours later, they made it safely to Kenya, where a new group trying to get in was standing by.

Crotty said in the five years he’s been with ASMP, they’ve never had to leave.

“This is the first time for me, there’s been cattle raids and such where people went and sat at the airstrip just in case … but this is the first time of an evacuation of employees,” Crotty said.

He hopes the violence ends soon so they and thousands of other volunteers can get back to helping the South Sudanese people.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Kotzebue welcomes President Obama with uniquely Alaskan greeting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 04, 23:00

    KTVA 11′s Emily Carlson spent some time with villagers in Kotzebue during their preparations for President Barack Obama’s visit. A group of students at the Nikaitchuat Ilisagviat Inupiat immersion school performed a special dance for the president and others at his speech on Wednesday.

  • Politics

    Governor, lawmakers discuss special session for October

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 04, 21:42

    The governor may be calling another special session — this time to discuss plans for a natural gas pipeline. Sen. Gary Stevens says Gov. Bill Walker has considered calling the session in late October. A spokesperson for the governor says he spoke with lawmakers and multiple start dates were discussed, but a date and location […]

  • News

    Bristol Bay community uses river currents to generate power

    by Rhonda McBride on Sep 04, 21:32

    It was a big week for Igiugig. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a shout out to the Bristol Bay community for its innovative renewable energy project, dubbed the “RivGen” power system. Igiugig, in partnership with the Ocean Renewable Power Company, has been testing a system which uses currents from the fast-moving Kvichak River […]

  • News

    Kenai River running fast and high after dam break

    by Jacquie Slater on Sep 04, 21:14

    Officials with the Kenai Wildlife Refuge Center are warning boaters and fishermen to use extreme caution if on or in the Kenai River this Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, an ice dam from Snow Glacier Dammed Lake broke off, causing the water to rush into the river. By Thursday night, the river had crested at […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, Sept. 4

    by KTVA Weather on Sep 04, 20:45

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Expect mostly cloudy skies for Saturday in the Kenai and Prince William Sound with highs in the upper 50s to around 60 degrees. Southeast Rain chances will be likely in the panhandle…some of which could be a bit on the heavier side. Look for highs to be in the mid 50s. […]

  • News

    When disaster strikes: Preparing for emergencies as a pet owner

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 04, 19:12

    Fires, floods and landslides have affected Alaskans throughout the state in recent months, and the Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center is urging pet owners to consider emergency evacuation plans that include their animal friends. “If you choose to not take your pets with you, you don’t know when you’ll make it back home. It […]

  • News

    High tides erode banks of Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 04, 18:42

    High tides are causing big problems on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. High waters have eroded two sections of the bank between Linary Park and the Fish Creek bridge. In some areas the crumbling ground is just feet from the paved trail. In other sections, water has washed out trees by the roots and left […]

  • Lifestyle

    Mexican cucumbers recalled after multi-state Salmonella outbreak

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 04, 16:13

    Some cucumbers packed in Mexico have been recalled after multiple states reported cases of Salmonella linked to the consumption of the vegetable. Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, Calif., issued the recall of garden cucumbers under the label of ”Limited Edition” brand pole cucumbers on Friday, according to a statement from the Alaska Department […]