As international relief groups rush to Haiti following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in its capital city, MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) has a permanent presence there, positioning the organization to fulfill a unique role in the distribution of earthquake aid.
Currently, MAF is serving an essential role in coordinating arrival and distribution of relief through its hangar at the Port-au-Prince international.
MAF, a Christian missionary organization that provides air transportation, communications, technology and education specialists to support missionary efforts and humanitarian needs in hard-to-reach areas of the world, has served the people of Haiti since 1986. MAF knows Haitian culture, language, people and geography.
Seven MAF missionary families, seven national staff members, and three aircraft have served 16 airstrips from a base of operations in Port-au-Prince. As MAF’s role in the rescue and recovery operations involves helping many international relief agencies and humanitarian organizations that have arrived in the country coordinate their operations.
MAF is setting up a critically important GATR VSAT emergency communications system that will provide high-bandwidth communications for relief workers at the Port-au-Prince airport. MAF also provided this critical satellite telephone and Internet access service through the inflatable, deployable satellite communications system for FEMA and other workers when Hurricane Ike hit Texas in 2008.
Disaster response is an MAF area of expertise. In past disaster situations, including the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Felix and Cyclone Sidr in 2007, and the Haitian hurricanes of 2008, MAF provided communications systems, delivered relief supplies, transported medical teams and assisted humanitarian organizations in reaching people and areas that had been otherwise cut off from assistance.
Founded in the U.S. in 1945, MAF (www.maf.org) missionary teams of aviation, communications, technology and education specialists overcome barriers in remote areas, transform lives and build God’s Kingdom by enabling the work of more than 1,000 organizations in isolated areas of the world. With its fleet of 55 bush aircraft – including the new KODIAK – MAF serves in 31 countries, with an average of 101 flights daily across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. MAF pilots transport missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conduct thousands of emergency medical evacuations in remote areas. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems.