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MAF Providing Relief and Assessment Teams to Quake Victims

October 2, 2009 — In the wake of devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia last week, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has flown in an assessment team to the devastated city of Padang, in the coastal region of western Sumatra. The September 30 disaster destroyed hundreds of buildings and homes, triggered landslides, knocked out power and cut off roads into the city of approximately 900,000 people.  Officials fear that thousands are trapped beneath the rubble.

MAF currently has three expatriate pilots and about 10 local staff members on Sumatra, according to Ron Wismer, manager of research and operations support. It has two aircraft on Sumatra – a Cessna 206 and a Cessna Caravan – that are based in Medan, which is well north of the earthquake zone. Responding to the emergency, MAF is providing flights from nearby Pekan Baru to Padang, close to the epicenter. Easily accessible from Jakarta and other places, the plan is to stage the MAF emergency response operations from Pekan Baru.

Relief workers from Operation Blessing International (OBI) have been flown to the scene. Other groups are also requesting MAF’s assistance.“‘We are working primarily with OBI,” said Stan Unruh, MAF country director in Sumatra, “but the phone is ringing off the hook with requests from the Red Cross and others.”

Wismer said friends of MAF can help in two ways: Pray that rescue workers can gain access to people who need food and medical care, and make a contribution to the relief effort at visiting www.maf.org.

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