Location map


Location

Liberia

Team Deployment

2 member rescue team

The following is extracted from a report prepared by an International Rescue Corps member for the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in Geneva:

3 local children in one of UNHCRs camps


Road into jungle


Overturned lorry


Jungle runway


Jungle airfield

19th August 1993

IRC were asked to provide a small team to go to Liberia to teach local drivers to handle Mercedes trucks.

Sunday 21 August

Arrived in Monrovia and were met by UNHCR staff.

24th August

The team and locally provided drivers set out for Vahun after 3 days preparation in a convoy of loaded 8-ton trucks. After 3 hours driving the roads were getting bad and they soon encountered problem roads, and had to set about repairing bridges.

Following a night’s break, the convoy reached Vahun at about 8pm, after a hard day.

Jungle camp site

As it was in middle of the rainy season snow chains had to be used most of the time – very hard on the tyres but kept them on the move. Mud, rain and bad bridges were every-day problems. It got so bad that some trucks had to be kept on standby to pull others up the hills. The biggest problem, however, was the rain washing away roads and bridges.

Road into jungle. A timber jack was used to help keep road open and tow Lorries

Road past refugee camp

Jungle camp

Loading a Hercules for an air drop

 

The local drivers all worked hard – if any problems arose they did not hesitate to ask the IRC members for help, and they turned out to be a good bunch of drivers.

There were no serious mechanical problems at first, the biggest problem being to get oil filters – the trucks did not arrive with any spare parts. This proved to be a major problem later on. On first arrival in Monrovia, our team had asked the Mercedes agent to get some oil filters and other spare parts – these still hadn’t arrived when our last team member left 2 months later.

Locals

Hercules aircraft during air drop

Hercules aircraft during air drop

Sacks on the edge of the air drop site

 

 
A second task was to establish a workshop in Vahun.

It was got up and working but the biggest problem (again) was trying to get spares, not just for Mercedes trucks, but also Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols.

The few parts that are available locally are expensive.

A shortage of experienced staff who have worked on haulage also means that it takes too long to turn trucks around in Monrovia and send back to Vahun.

 

 

Road into jungle

Collecting the sacks following an air drop

Refugees line up at the rear of a lorry, waiting for an aid issue of food.

 

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