TOULOUSE: March 09, 2017. The Airbus Foundation has used an A330 test aircraft to carry 17 tonnes of aid equipment from the UK to Uganda for refugees escaping war and famine in South Sudan.
The flight was organized by Airbus, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and carried a Mass Sanitation Emergency Response Unit provided by the British Red Cross.
The unit will allow the Uganda Red Cross to provide sanitation to thousands of people living in a recently established refugee camp on the Uganda-South Sudan border.
"With the increasing conflict in South Sudan forcing more refugees to flee, the region has spiraled into a humanitarian catastrophe in Africa," said Fabrice Brégier, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. "The IFRC called upon us for help to provide an Airbus test aircraft in order to pick up the relief goods and fly them to Uganda,"
The South Sudanese refugee population in Uganda has more than tripled in the past six months to almost 720,000, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Since December 2013, more than 1.5 million people have left South Sudan to find safety in neighboring countries.
By July this year, the humanitarian community estimates that 5.5 million in South Sudan will be severely food insecure. "This is only the beginning of the lean season and, sadly, things could get much, much worse in the months ahead," said U.N. under-secretary general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien.
"We desperately need the fighting to stop. We need calm to prevail now so that we can consistently reach people in dire need, and prevent further catastrophe," he added.
Pictured: Airbus handed over Iran Air's first A330-200 in Toulouse this week, the first of 45 A330 airplanes and the first widebody from an order of 100 aircraft the airline placed with the manufacturer in December 2016.