The Need:

Sumatra is the second-largest island in Indonesia, and home to approximately 45 million people. In ancient times Sumatra was known as the “Island of Gold.” Despite its deposits of oil and natural gas, as well as other resources, some 27 percent of the people of northern Sumatra live in poverty, compared to 17 percent in Indonesia as a whole.

In December 2004, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake caused a devastating tsunami to crash across the Aceh area of northern Sumatra. More than 170,000 people were killed and 550,000 displaced. Geographical areas were disfigured, and the transportation infrastructure was destroyed.

Though MAF did not have a base in Sumatra at the time, the agency was one of the first to respond to the disaster, initially sending aircraft and personnel from the MAF programme in Kalimantan. MAF also provided communications services to support the relief efforts.

Four years later, life is assuming a semblance of normalcy for many people in the tsunami-stricken area. Most of those who were displaced now have homes to live in, and the healthcare system is continually improving.

Many of the humanitarian agencies involved in the rebuilding efforts have departed. However, MAF continues to support the handful of agencies remaining in the area.


The Solution:

Having served in Indonesia since 1954, the long-term commitment of MAF is recognised and deeply appreciated. Government officials have invited MAF to extend its ministry indefinitely in the province of Aceh. This opens a door of unequalled opportunity to bring practical care while establishing transformational relationships.

The departure of aid agencies has reduced the demand for air transportation. To continue serving Sumatrans, MAF is pursuing the establishment of public flight services. However, MAF is not currently authorised to fly the public in Sumatra, and is therefore limited to charter flights until permission to begin commercial flights is received. MAF staff are also developing initial plans to establish an aviation school and are approaching the governor of Aceh, requesting a grant as well as his sponsorship.

Sumatra Country Profile

More on Sumatra
Latest on Sumatra on our website
  • Update Aceh Earthquake
    Update Aceh Earthquake

    (11 Apr 2012)

    Update from our team in Aceh Following Earthquake. MAF personnel in Banda Aceh, on the Indonesia island of Sumatra, are evaluating the situation to determine how to best respond following an 8.7 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra Wednesday.

  • Sumatra map (updated)
    MAF's emergency response to Sumatra earthquake

    (01 Oct 2009)

    Within 24 hours of the massive earthquake that shook Sumatra, Indonesia, on 30 September, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) was flying in medical supplies and assisting survey efforts to assess the damage.

Mission Aviation Fellowship

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