KATHMANDU, Nepal — Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has begun providing helicopter transportation to remote areas of Nepal hard-hit by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred on April 25.
MAF is also assisting authorities and relief agencies at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu with ramp management and planning, cargo handling, warehousing logistics and coordination.
“We keep hearing about the many people in remote parts on Nepal who are suffering or injured, but no one is able to reach them,” said John Boyd, president and CEO of MAF. “MAF’s disaster response team has mobilized helicopters to take relief workers to those areas that have been cut off from help.”
Headquartered in Nampa, Idaho, MAF is a Christian organization that uses aviation and technology to enable the work of churches, medical organizations, and relief agencies in the world’s most isolated communities. It has decades of disaster response experience, and provided critical services following the Haiti earthquake of 2010, Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and in the Ebola outbreak last summer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Within days of the quake, MAF personnel arrived in Nepal to assess needs and determine how the organization could best assist. It was soon apparent that the small airport in Kathmandu was being overwhelmed with relief flights and incoming aid workers, MAF officials noted.
As airport logistics is one of MAF’s areas of expertise, MAF staff from various locations around the world have been dispatched to assist.
“MAF is experienced in coordinating air transportation and other disaster response logistics. We are serving both airport staff and relief agencies so that help can reach those who need it most,” Boyd stated.
Helicopter flights began on Sunday, carrying search and rescue teams to mountain locations, as well as transporting medical teams to remote villages where they are treating the injured. The MAF team flew two critical patients to Kathmandu for further care, and helped rescue a group of travelers stranded in the mountains.
The death toll in Nepal is now reported to be more than 7,000 and many thousands are injured. Because of blocked roads or mountain passes, as well as inadequate transportation infrastructure, many remote communities still have not been reached.
People are in need of medical care, food, water, and shelter. The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and the World Food Program (WFP) have been providing food to some of the hardest-hit areas; however, they are unable to transport relief workers or conduct medical evacuations.
How you can help:
To respond to the disaster, MAF has set up the Nepal Disaster Relief Fund. Gifts can be made at MAF.org/Nepal.