Staff members from Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian mission and aid organization headquartered in Nampa, have been helping residents of Dominica, one of many areas recently ravaged by two hurricanes in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Maria ripped apart homes and caused destruction across Dominica, Barbuda, and other islands already reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma earlier this month.
“MAF is working with Samaritan’s Purse to survey the needs and bring help to the islands that were torn apart by the hurricanes,” said John Woodberry, Global Manager of Disaster Response for MAF.
“On Wednesday, we flew an MAF airplane to Dominica, (where) so much there has been destroyed. About 75 percent of the houses are missing roofs. Dominica has mountains and rivers which caused horrendous flash flooding as Hurricane Maria passed over, so I saw warehouses that were just obliterated,” Woodberry said. “People were pulling things out of the rubble. Everything is chaotic.”
At the airport in Dominica, the MAF team met Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica, who asked for assistance for his country at this critical time.
Mission Aviation Fellowship uses airplanes and other technologies to reach the most isolated places of the world with Christian love. In times of crisis, the organization’s personnel provide air transportation, communication systems, and logistics support so that disaster response teams can effectively aid the those who are suffering.
MAF staffers have already been providing logistics support at a staging area established by Samaritan’s Purse in Puerto Rico. “A second MAF team had been working out of Sint Maarten with an airplane to provide aerial surveys of hurricane damage from Hurricane Irma and meet other needs. Following Hurricane Maria, that team Wednesday moved its base to Antigua. On Thursday, it completed an aerial survey of damage to Barbuda, and worked on repairing generators in there,” said MAF spokesman Chris Burgess.
According to MAF, a crew from Samaritan’s Purse is expected to arrive in Dominica with relief supplies within the next day or so. The organization is planning to provide tarps for shelter, as well as food, water purification units, hygiene kits, and other supplies.
“MAF is also planning to deploy a satellite communication system to Dominica to help get communications up and running on the island,” Burgess said.
Mission Aviation Fellowship operates a fleet of some 130 airplanes across Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America. Since 1945, MAF has enabled the work of churches, relief organizations, missionaries, medical teams, development agencies, and others working to share the Christian faith and make life better for those who live in the most isolated parts of the world.
In recent years, MAF has responded to disasters in Haiti, following Hurricane Matthew ... in Nepal, following two deadly earthquakes in 2015 ... and in the Philippines, following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.