MAF Coordinates Delivery of Vital Aid to Devastated Haiti

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) hangar at Port-au-Prince's small international airport is playing a vital role in facilitating dozens of relief flights into devastated Haiti that otherwise would be turned away.

As the airport was having difficulty accommodating all the aircraft trying to enter Haiti, MAF workers approached Air Force controllers to offer logistics support as well as space at MAF's hangar, said John Woodberry, MAF manager of disaster response and security. As a result, the many more relief flights are now arriving at Port-au-Prince's otherwise maxed-out airport.

The MAF hangar has become crucially important to the work of major international relief ministries. It is serving as a cargo warehouse for Operation Blessing, Baptist Haiti Mission, Samaritan's Purse and others. It also has become a key logistics support base for Operation Blessing and Samaritan's Purse, both of which have staff sleeping at the MAF hangar to support and manage their relief operations and coordinate trucks that pick up relief for distribution.

Saturday alone MAF facilitated 69 passengers and 20,000 pounds of relief supplies, beginning the arrival of a flight carrying 23 relief workers from World Vision, the Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and others. Relief supplies handled included food, tarps, blankets, hygiene kits, water treatment systems, and medical equipment and supplies. These planes then departed Haiti with 43 evacuated children and short-term missionaries that had arrived before the earthquake struck.

Also Saturday, MAF aircraft began relief flights within Haiti, evacuating a U.S. work team that was stranded in the town on Hinche, 60 miles north of Port-au-Prince. This group from Richmond, Virginia, had arrived in Haiti on January 7. MAF pilots Mark Williams and Will White flew the group to Cap Haitian and helped them find a place to stay before the team departed for the U.S.

Sunday morning flights into Port-au-Prince from the U.S. brought medical and surgical teams and medical supplies to the MAF facility.

Much emergency relief cargo arrives in Haiti not designated for delivery to a certain group. MAF has been asked to coordinate getting it to the most worthy organizations.

MAF pilots and planes will continue relief flights within Haiti, transporting relief supplies, relief workers, and medical teams to remote areas.