Haiti

MAF sees glimmer of hope in Haiti in wake of four storms

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GONAIVES, Haiti-9-12-08- The disaster situation in Haiti is still dire in the wake of Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, but there's a glimmer of good news to report.

"Relief flights are beginning to pick up," Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot Will White reported Wednesday.

MAF flew 400 intravenous (IV) bottles to the village of Anse Rouge for a hospital a few hours from there run by Union Evangelique Baptiste d'Haiti. The road to the hospital was washed away, so the bottles were to go first by motor vehicle and then by mule.

"The hospital is out of medical supplies and food," White said. "Several people have died because of the shortages."

Christian Aid Ministries donated 40 boxes of food and 40 cases of bottled water, giving Michael Broyles of MAF the opportunity to deliver some food on a flight.

MAF handled logistics for Air Calvary, which flew by helicopter three staff members of Fonkoze, Haiti's alternative bank for the poor, into a school compound in order for them to assess damage in Gonaives. Ten boxes of food and 10 packages of water were delivered to the area, but some of it was reportedly taken by a mob.

Thursday, MAF was to assist with a full day of flying by Air Calvary, helping deliver 2,800 pounds of supplies to a national minister in a remote area. Other assistance has been requested by a variety of groups.

Earlier this week, MAF learned that the road from Port-au-Prince to the Central Plateau is open. John Munsell of MAF reported that the road from Anse Rouge to Gonaives still has several impassable sections.

After Tropical Depressions Fay and Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna struck, Hurricane Ike hit Saturday evening and Sunday, dumping more rain on the already flooded and soaked land.

Even before Ike arrived, MAF pilots estimated the damage to be greater than that caused by Hurricane Jeanne in 2004.

MAF serves several airstrips in Haiti. The organization's airstrip in Gonaives, located 170 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince, lay under some eight feet of water late last week. The remaining MAF air strips in the area were reported to be operational, albeit muddy.