Ramping Up to Meet Overwhelming Need
‘Full disaster response mode’ in Haiti
January 18, 2010 — As the massive humanitarian efforts continue in the earthquake-stricken nation of Haiti, the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) reports its members are in “full disaster response mode,” working with the international relief agency, Samaritan’s Purse, and others to provide relief to thousands of suffering people. Smaller GA aircraft like those operated by MAF are still not allowed to fly out of Port-au-Prince International Airport, which is under command of the U.S. military, but the organization continues to ready its fleet aircraft based in Haiti to contribute to the mammoth relief efforts in the weeks and months to come.
MAF is ramping up to aid agencies by coordinating the storage, distribution, and transportation of food, water and medical supplies, as well as tarps and water purification systems. A GATR Technologies inflatable satellite terminal at the Port-au-Prince airport will provide reliable Internet and wireless data connectivity, including VOIP (Internet telephone service) to aid organizations.
John Boyd, MAF president, stated in a news release, “MAF has been ministering in Haiti since 1986. We know the country, the culture and the language. This experience and knowledge will be invaluable to groups coming to Haiti to help. What’s more, MAF will continue to minister here in the months and years following this disaster.”
MAF was one of the dozens of mission aviation and public benefit flying organizations participating in EAA’s “Fly for Life” program at AirVenture Oshkosh 2009. Fly For Life shined some much-deserved light on benevolent flying by general aviation with a series of presentations and displays describing those who serve others around the world through flight.
MAF has received many inquiries about volunteering to assist in the relief efforts. Currently, MAF is unable to bring volunteers into Haiti. There may be a later need for those with specific technical skills in logistics and communications, coupled with disaster response experience, so officials ask tha they monitor the MAF website, www.MAF.org, for updates.
Other developments since last week:
Wives and children of the seven MAF missionary families have been relocated to Fort Pierce, Florida, via Mission Fellowship International’s (MFI) turbine-powered DC-3.
A Samaritan’s Purse DC-6 arrived carrying 25,000 lbs of relief supplies, and the MAF hangar at the Port-au-Prince airport is being used as a logistics point for this flight and will likely be similarly used for other flights. MAF staff housing is being used to accommodate MAF staff as well as relief workers from other agencies.
NBAA Organizes Business Fliers
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), in response to its members who want to volunteer aircraft, supplies and personnel to support earthquake relief efforts, created www.nbaa.org/haiti. NBAA will continually update the site to provide the latest operational information and help match available assets with people and organizations involved in coordinating missions into Haiti.
Air Care Alliance
The Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, has posted Haiti GA response information on its Relief information page, including links to several organizations’ information. Visit www.aircareall.org/relief-info.htm.