Contaminated Routes Cleared by TDI in South Sudan

Developments in Bentiu State late last year resulted in the closure of many routes due to the possible relaying of Anti-Tank mines. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) awarded TDI a contract to conduct emergency route verification and clearance tasks (ERVCT) as and when required to allow for safe passage of UN and other vehicles providing humanitarian aid. TDI mobilised two teams in August 2015 for a period of 6 months.

 

Initially the teams were predominantly located in the South due to the conditions during the rainy season. Once the rain receded in the North, the teams were then able to conduct operations from Bentiu where there was, and still is, a high priority requirement for United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on route verification of six important roads in that area.

TDI vehicle crossing wet gap

A major achievement by the ERVCT was crossing a seemingly impassable wet gap on 10 January and finalising the verification of an anti-tank mine location on the Mayom Junction to clear the Mayom route on January 19. Completion of this incident area and continued route assessment onto Torabeid and Mayom effectively opened the route between Bentiu and Abiemnom to the mission.

 

The teams also cleared the way to the Rubkona Airfield Extension which was an UNMISS directive to allow for larger aircraft carrying humanitarian and mission supplies. The airfield serves as the sole logistics point during the rainy season for aid deliveries to 40,000 IDPs in the UNMISS Protection of Civilians (PoC).

TDI teams with large loop metal detectors on airstrip extension UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Verification of clearance of route leading into Rubkona airstrip extension near Bentiu, by UNMAS and contractor TDI.  The extension came as an UNMISS directive, with the goal of allowing for greater capacity and heavier payloads in aircraft providing Mission and Humanitarian support and supplies.  UNMAS was requested to ensure clearance of the area (verify it clear of UXO and other ERW and explosive materials) prior to the commencement of engineering work. 

A WFP helicopter flies over the site while landing at Rubkona airport to deliver humanitarian supplies.

Teams clearing route leading into the Rubkona airstrip extension- UN Photo/JC McIllwaine

The teams were stood down in January 2015 at the end of the contract.