MAF Disaster Response in Nepal

News and Press Release
Originally published

It has been another busy day for the team as many NGOs and relief works are trying to identify where to target their work following yesterday’s second earthquakes. The team have received stories that there are many remote communities who had not yet received aid following the first earthquake – and now have been hit again. The need for the helicopter service increases every day and since the facility started last weekend the helicopter teams have been taking off or landing on average every 18 minutes, during the 10-hour daylight operational window they can work in.

One of the organisations we have been working with is a Christian NGO United Vision Nepal (UVN). Usually the brass earthquake alarm in their second-floor office in Kathmandu sounds like a gentle bell when triggered, but it rang uninterrupted for the second round of intense tremors suffered by Nepal in as many weeks yesterday (Tuesday, May 12). When the tremors started Daniel from UVN was preparing with two staff members for the fourth and final helicopter flight out to a remote community, taking much-needed tarpaulin, medicine and food. His two female colleagues fled the building screaming.

He said: “The big thing for the Nepalis is the emotional healing from the scarring that they have had. The memory is so fresh in their minds from two weeks ago.” Australian Daniel has been in the country for two-and-a-half years and is now affiliated to UVN, an organisation that wants to see a church and a trained leader in every village in Nepal. The area they have been focusing on is in the Gorkha district near the Tibetan border where the settlements are between 2,000 and 3,000 metres above sea level. In good weather, and without catastrophic tectonic plate movement, those are visits that require a week of walking. Daniel said: “Since the earthquake, you can’t walk there now. That’s the reality. There is no way there by foot and the mule trains I don’t think can even make it through and the rivers come and you can’t cross them with the bridges broken down. The only way there is by air, so we are very thankful for MAF. We can’t pay the rates for army helicopters but we have been able to get the discount with MAF and that’s been a great blessing. We’re very encouraged to be able to take lots of supplies and at the same time take our staff members there to build relationships with those communities we have been working amongst these past few years and at the same time we are meeting new communities. I just pray those staff will be a blessing right now to those people who have lost everything.”

Daniel said they are waiting to hear from their team out in the remote district with communications down since yesterday. He said he and his colleagues are all asking themselves in Kathmandu today: “When is it safe to go back inside? How do you sleep at night? Is it worth sleeping outside in the rain with the mosquitos biting you just to be safe?” Please pray for Daniel and his team at UVN, for the safety of all of their colleagues in the field and that their work will continue to bless the Nepali communities they are serving in.

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