Local missionaries evacuated from South Sudan

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

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BOONE, N.C. —

Samaritans Purse continues to evacuate members because the unrest in South Sudan.

Earlier this week, 70 members were evacuated from the country and today more were brought to safety.

The political unrest and fighting in South Sudan has been going on for more than a week and a half and the United Nations reports more 1,000 people are dead and 120,000 others have been displaced.

Members of Boone-based Samaritans Purse live and work in refugee camps there, but this week 90 members were flown to safety. Vice President of Programs Ken Isaacs helped organize the mission and said this is the first time they've ever had to evacuate.

"It broke out so fast, that nobody was able to know what areas in the country were safe or not safe," said Isaacs.

Isaacs has spent the last 20 years working in South Sudan alongside many of those members recently evacuated.

The group was flown to Nairobi Africa where they will continue their programs from there.

He said the work they do in refugee camps in South Sudan is critical.

"We're busy running hospitals, providing clean water, building churches," said Isaacs

On Friday, 24 doctors and emergency workers were evacuated as well.

Issac said none of their members were targeted or in danger but said even the UN peace keepers, who kept them safe, fled for safety.

"They're the guys with the guns and the helmets, when they flee, it's just unstable," Isaacs said.

But while Samaritan's Purse members are out of harm's way, the people they came to help in South Sudan aren't.

Isaacs said there's no telling when the members will go back but said they're trying to find a way to return and continue their work safely.

Samaritan's purse is also working to evacuate relief workers from other organizations. So far, they've already picked up more than 100 others.