• 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

  • Crime

    Alaskan actor found guilty of attempted murder of 2 brothers

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 15:56

    A jury has found a 47-year-old Kiana man, known for his role in the film “On the Ice,” guilty of shooting two brothers and stealing their boat in September 2012, authorities say. Tuesday, Teddy K. Smith was found guilty of two counts of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree theft and […]

  • Crime

    Humane Society offers reward in Anchorage animal cruelty case

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 13:39

    The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information in connection with a dog’s death in which the pit bull was found hanging from a tree with his throat slashed. The dog, named Snoop, was discovered in the woods near East 20th Avenue and Rosemary Street Oct. 10 after […]

  • DayBreak

    Quilting for a cause

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 12:47

    A group of Alaskans are going above and beyond to give back to Alaska’s kids this holiday season. The Friends of Alaska CASA is raising money through its 18th annual Silent Quilt Auction this weekend. Quilt auction founder and event organizer Debby Hudson joined Daybreak on the couch Wednesday to talk about how the community […]

  • Crime

    Ketchikan police seize 5.5 pounds of pot

    by Associated Press on Nov 26, 12:01

    A 59-year-old Ketchikan man has been charged with felony drug counts after a search of his home that police say turned up 5.5 pounds of marijuana. The Ketchikan Daily News reports George B. Friend is charged with four counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance. Police with a search warrant Monday also recovered three chocolate-covered psilocybin […]

  • Politics

    Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkeys

    by CNN / AP on Nov 26, 11:47

    WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is defending his legal authority to take executive actions – to spare a pair of Thanksgiving turkeys. Obama joked that his annual turkey pardon will be his “most talked about executive action this month.”  Last week, the president issued a series of highly anticipated executive actions on immigration that […]

  • News

    Police identify homeless man found dead in South Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 11:09

    Police have released the name of a man, believed to have been homeless, who was found dead under a bridge in South Anchorage earlier this month. The body of Donald Eugene Lentz, 62, of Anchorage, was discovered by police on Nov. 15 near the intersection of Dimond Boulevard and Arctic Boulevard, according to a statement from […]

  • Crime

    Feds seize multiple properties, $1.5M in illegal drugs

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 10:48

    A man is facing felony charges following a seizure of about 500 grams of methamphetamine and 5 kilograms of cocaine, according to the Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office. Thursday, a grand jury indicted 53-year-old Steven Bradley Powell charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of money laundering conspiracy. The […]

  • Crime

    Teenagers sentenced for Fairbanks armed robbery

    by Associated Press on Nov 26, 9:25

    Two teenagers convicted of armed robbery at a Fairbanks liquor store have been sentenced to five years in prison. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 19-year-old Marcus Djaun Howard and 18-year-old Brandon Michael Roberts reached a plea arrangement with prosecutors for the March 2 robbery of the liquor store and gas station northeast of Fairbanks. Prosecutors say […]