USA

USA: Restoration of communications in the Gulf Region causes MAF to significantly scale down its response

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Assisting victims and relief agencies during times of crises is a hallmark of Mission Aviation Fellowship. Until Hurricane Katrina, MAF communications and air support had been exclusively deployed in the isolated regions of developing countries. However, the magnitude of the devastation caused the leadership of MAF to commence deployment in an unprecedented effort to help in a domestic disaster.

"We wanted to apply our experience from the MAF tsunami relief work in Indonesia and years of medical evacuations from the bush to help our American brothers and sisters in such desperate need," said MAF President, Kevin Swanson.

The MAF Katrina Response Coordinator had been on site and operational with emergency communications since September 1. Based on requests and information provided by first responders such as FEMA, MEMA, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Samaritan's Purse, MAF formulated plans to deploy an aircraft and 10 emergency satellite communications centers to assist emergency personnel and victims.

While MAF equipment and additional staff were in transit to Jackson, Mississippi (September 10-11), significant improvements were made to restore communications in the stricken area. As a result, MAF halted its plans and discontinued its fundraising activities (as of Monday, September 12, 2005).

"We thank God that recovery is now progressing and that the MAF emergency communications centers will not be needed," stated Swanson. "We are deeply grateful to the faithful MAF supporters who responded generously with emergency donations as well as those who volunteered their services. Every gift will be returned to donors and every volunteer will be contacted with our appreciation for their compassionate support."

A small team of MAF staff will remain in Mississippi to continue assisting local churches and agencies helping victims rebuild their lives. MAF requests continued prayers for those who have lost so much in this disaster.

Updates will be posted as plans and events unfold.