Coronavirus world news

As the pandemic progresses, we get the latest from MAF staff...

16th October - Madagascar

MAF flies postponed Baccalauréat exam papers all over Madagascar

Following secondary school closures in Madagascar, students have had their final year exams - the Baccalauréat – postponed until October. MAF Pilots, Ian Purdey and Ryan Unger, flew the sealed exam papers and invigilators all over the country so Madagascan officials could finally facilitate their national exams.


23rd September - Adjumani, Uganda 

MAF Uganda aircraft resumes passenger flights

For the first time in six months, MAF Uganda officially resumed its domestic passenger flights on 23rd September. The Ugandan authorities have finally granted MAF permission to go about its normal business. It was Lutheran World Federation who boarded the first passenger flight to Adjumani Refugee Camp. Find out more


8th September - Kampala, Uganda 

MAF Engineer, Geoff Linkleter, fixing an MAF aircraft engine

This week, Vianney Lugya from Uganda’s Civil Aviation announced that commercial flights will resume from Entebbe International Airport from 1st October. Until that fateful day arrives, MAF Engineer - Geoff Linkleter, continues to make the most of his downtime. Find out more  


18th August - Stranded but steadfast about the future

MAF Pilot, Steven Biggs, in front of MAF plane in Monrovia before coronavirus

As new quarantine restrictions were enforced, Australian MAF Pilot Steven Biggs, found himself stuck in Kent for sixty days having had three Brisbane bound flights cancelled. Claire Gilderson caught up with Steven about his future plans and what MAF in West Africa might look like, the other side of the pandemic. Find out more


6th August – Bardaï, Chad

MAF's Phil Henderson flies to Bardai Hospital, mid Sahara, transporting much needed supplies to fight coronavirus. BMS Missionary, Dr Mark Hotchkin, is relieved to receive 100 oxygen masks, pulse oximeters - to measure oxygen - and temperature devices to screen and treat patients with the disease, more effectively.


22nd July – Juba, South Sudan

MAF South Sudan Pilot, Johan Brugmans, in uniform in front of MAF aircraft

MAF South Sudan Pilot, Johan Brugmans - and his wife Reinate - finally make it back to base in Juba after four months of travel restrictions. In March, the couple flew to Uganda for Johan’s mandatory three-week flight training course, only to get stuck behind the border.


21st July - South Sudan

MAF Pilot, Daniel Gill, marking his milestone with a plaque inside the plane

Although MAF South Sudan is flying at reduced capacity due to government restrictions, Pilot Danny Gill, has managed to clock up 2,000 hours. Danny celebrates his incredible milestone. Find out more


14th July - Tekin, Papua New Guinea

Aerial view of Oksapmin Secondary School and Tekin Primary School in PNG

MAF has partnered with Oksapmin Secondary School for thirteen years in the remote village of Tekin, but for the first time, MAF has found its way onto the
curriculum of one of PNG's best performing schools during the pandemic. MAF PNG’s Comms Officer, Mandy Glass, came up with the initiative. Find out more


12th July – Yambio, South Sudan

In partnership with the WHO, MAF Pilot - Alistair Youren, flies Ministry of Health doctors to Yambio in southern South Sudan to deliver a week’s training course in coronavirus awareness. By road, the journey would take more than a day, but by air, 190 miles only takes 80 minutes!


10th July - Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

MAF Pilot, Satish Moka, wearing a home-made supporter mask at the Mount Hagen Operations Centre in PNG

MAF Papua New Guinea receives 2,000 home-made face masks from MAF Australia, courtesy of MAF supporters with super sewing skills. These much-needed masks – as demonstrated by MAF Pilot Satish Moka - will be allocated to each passenger who boards a MAF PNG flight.


9th July - Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

MAF Uganda Pilot, Andrew Parker, drops off urgently needed coronavirus test kits and medicine in Bukavu, eastern DRC

Following a spike in coronavirus cases in Bukavu, eastern DRC last month, MAF is enlisted to transport test kits and medicine to one of Africa’s most hard to reach places. It was Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr Denis Mukwege, who initially made the call. Find out more


4th July – Toamasina, Madagascar

Medair car in front of MAF plane with men unloading medical equipment

In the fight against coronavirus, MAF’s Ryan Unger and Ian Purdey, fly ventilators and staff from Medair and the ‘Malagasy Gov Covid-19 Task Force’ to Toamasina. As flying is currently banned in Madagascar, MAF continues to seek special permission to pilot emergency medevacs, facilitate repatriations and to transport cargo.  


25th June - Angola 

MAF Pilot, Marijn Goud, flying a passenger in need of help

Despite restrictions, MAF is granted special permission for its work: 'MAF get to fly even when Angolan airspace is completely closed down - how cool is that? MAF keeps getting one or two approvals a week for emergency flights. We’re taking sick people in isolation or hard to reach places to hospital.’ (Pilot, Marijn Goud).


8th June - Kuron, South Sudan

Crucial cargo during coronavirus is transported to Kuron by MAF Pilot, Wim Hobo

MAF Pilot, Wim Hobo, has been flying to Kuron's award winning ‘Holy Trinity Peace Village’ for years. Supplies include masks and resources to keep coronavirus away. The village is the brainchild of 84-year-old Bishop Paride Taban, which he founded in 2005 to create an oasis of peace in war-torn South Sudan. Find out more


6th June - 'The Blessing Australia'

Following last month’s release of socially distanced worship song ‘The UK Blessing’, Australia has produced their virtual version featuring MAF Arnhem Land! Over 300 churches from different dominations unite in this powerful song - written by Kari Jobe and Elevation Worship - declaring peace and hope over the nation.


5th June - Bardai, Chad

MAF Pilot, Phil Henderson, socially distancing in the desert

MAF Pilot, Phil Henderson, takes social distancing to the extreme in Bardai – a remote town in northern Chad. After landing, authorities imposed their restrictions on Phil: ‘They wouldn’t let me overnight in town because Bardai has yet to be touched by coronavirus. All too happy to comply.’ So Phil camped in the desert! 


 29th May - Kasese District, Uganda

First breakthrough emergency flight bound for Kasese District - cargo includes buckets

As heavy rains ease up, MAF is finally permitted to make its first emergency disaster relief flight to the flood-hit district of Kasese. MAF Uganda’s Communications Officer, Jill Vine, brings us the latest. Find out more 


14th May - South SudanMAF Pilot, Daniel Gill, flying Samaritan's Purse cargo to Ajuong Thok Refugee Camp in South Sudan

MAF Pilot, Daniel Gill, has had to adapt to his ‘new normal’ in South Sudan like the rest of us, but what if your community doesn’t believe that the virus is present? Daniel shares how life has changed and how people are responding to the pandemic. Find out more  


13th May - Madagascar  

Big box of syringes to facilitate child vaccinations

Every year, thousands of newborns in Madagascar need vital vaccines to survive childhood. Despite coronavirus, on the 13th and 14th May, MAF was permitted to transport these vaccines in partnership with UNICEF. MAF Comms Officer, Charlotte Pedersen, explains the challenges involved. Find out more 


12th May - Howard Island, Australia

450 kilos of food boxes bound for Howard Island

MAF fly 450kg of food to the Yolngu Aborigine community in Howard Island off the north coast of Australia. It was donated by Australian supermarket, Woolworths. This MAF flight means this remote community doesn't have to travel to the mainland to shop, thus massively reducing their exposure to any coronavirus.


10th May - Morehead District, Papua New Guinea

Nurse wearing new PPE treating patients at Moreland Clinic in PNG

For twenty years, Morehead District in Papua New Guinea has struggled without adequate anti-venom supplies. When coronavirus took the world by storm, another shortage became obvious – PPE. Thanks to MAF, the region’s health workers can now treat their patients without fear. Find out more


7th May – Kasese District, Uganda

Heavy rain on 7th May caused four rivers in the Kasese District in western Uganda to burst their banks. Already suffering from life in lockdown since 30th March, communities must now contend with destroyed homes and displaced people. MAF is responding as best it can. Find out more


5th May - Reaching the isolated while we isolate 

Millions of us are experiencing isolation for the first time in our lives, but for millions of others around the world, isolation is all they have ever known. MAF has been serving the remotest people on earth for 75 years and we will continue to serve them, wherever we can, throughout this crisis. Find out more about our Giving Tuesday Now Campaign, and how you can help here.


2nd May - Lailenpi, Myanmar

Machinery constructing Lailenpi Airstrip in Myanmar
Despite coronavirus travel restrictions, 70% of the Lailenpi airstrip -which is being built on top of a mountain - has now been completed. Most of the excavation work is finished and the paving work is progressing well. The construction team hope to finish this stage before the rainy season starts at the end of May.


30th April – Adjumani, Uganda

Four Tutapona staff outside Adjumani Community Radio Station
When coronavirus reared its ugly head in East Africa, it became clear that ways of working in Adjumani Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda had to change. MAF partner, Tutapona - which provides trauma counselling to people affected by war – had to get creative about how to support child refugees. Find out more


 29th April - Arnhem Land, Australia

Arnhem Land - Australia

North-east Arnhem Land is an isolated wilderness in northern Australia and home to 5,000 Yolngu Aborigines. Taking every precaution, MAF transports essential food and medicine. There are no reported coronavirus cases, but Programme Director, Ruth Jack, says now is not the time for complacency. Find out more


28th April - Oecusse, Timor-Leste

MAF joins forces with Oxfam to deliver 430kg of soap and buckets to 68,000 stranded people in Timor-Leste

Due to coronavirus restrictions, there are no commercial flights and ferries, so the people of Oecusse are cut off from the mainland. MAF joins forces with Oxfam to deliver 430kg of soap and buckets to 68,000 stranded people. For MAF, helping isolated people is nothing new.


27th April - Arnhem Land, Australia

MAF Pilot, Anton Zhang in Arnhem Land Australia

Self-confessed introvert and MAF Pilot, Anton Zhang, has been embracing his solitude by getting creative. He’s painted a self-portrait capturing his situation. For Zhang, choosing solitude is different from being forced to isolate: ‘I take my mind to the peace of the wilderness, free from distraction to think upon the things of God.’ 


26th April - Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

MAF worker cleaning plane as part of new coronavirus preparations in Bangladesh

While nations declare a ‘state of emergency’ in the face of coronavirus, MAF Country Director, Mark Blomberg, declares a ‘state of readiness’ to serve the people of Bangladesh, particularly those living in the largest refugee settlement in the world, based around Kutupalong and Nayaparain in Cox’s Bazar. Find out more


25th April - Lesirwai Village, Tanzania

MAF Pilot, Jarkko Korhonen, flying nurses to Lesirwai Village in Tanzania

MAF Pilot and Programme Manager, Jarkko Korhonen, flies nurses to the Lesiwai Village Clinic in South Maasai to administer vaccines and educate patients about coronavirus. The nurses are wearing PPE donated by MAF. The number of coronavirus cases is rising in Tanzania.


24th April - Madagascar

First Covid-19 flight in Madagascar

Today marks Madagascar’s first coronavirus related flight. MAF Pilots, Ryan Unger and Ian Purdey, took off with a plane packed full of PPE and test kits bound for Tulear and Fort Daphin. Once used, these test kits will be flown back to the capital, Antananarivo, home of CNOSSE - Madagascar’s only test centre.


23rd April - Balimo, Papua New Guinea

MAF transporting medicine and essential supplies to Balimo in the Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Despite coronavirus, MAF Pilot Jan Ivar Andresen, is pleased to team up with Aerial Health Patrol to transport medicine and essential supplies to Balimo: ‘It’s good to still be able to do what we came to PNG for. It's a privilege to still be serving people with these flights, which contribute to their health service.’ 


21st April - Nimule, South Sudan

Worker loading up coronavirus testing kits bound for Nimule on South Sudan border

On the border of South Sudan and Uganda lies Nimule Village where the main road out of Uganda crosses the border. Truckers transport supplies along this road, so on request of South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and the WHO, MAF delivers coronavirus test kits for the drivers to prevent the virus from entering South Sudan.


19th April - Khulna, Bangladesh

Member of coronavirus contact tracing team getting off MAF plane into boat

MAF flies to Khulna as part of a coronavirus contact tracing pilot programme to assess the spread of the disease within communities. It’s a joint venture between the Bangladeshi government, the UN and BRAC – a Bangladeshi NGO. If successful - with the help of MAF – it will be rolled out across other districts in Bangladesh.


17th April - Luau, Angola

With Angola in lockdown, flying home from the remote village of Luau looks unlikely for the Griffins – a family from Canada - until MAF Angola Pilot, Marijn Goud, rescues them. MAF are granted special permission from the authorities to fly them to Angola’s capital, Luanda, so they can finally be repatriated.


17th April - Dhaka, Bangladesh

Back in Dhaka at our hangar @ HSIA

As the lockdown continues, World Vision calls MAF to fly their charity worker from the city of Khulna back to the capital, Dhaka. When there’s no way out, MAF finds a way. It’s not the first time this employee has relied on MAF during challenging times: ‘I’ve flown with MAF before in Uganda – I know that MAF comes to the rescue'. 


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14th April - Juba, South Sudan

MAF Pilot, Wim Hobo, flying coronavirus test kits from Juba to Wau in South Sudan

Jenny Davies started her new communications job with MAF in South Sudan back in February, not long after the pandemic started. In a country with only a handful of ventilators and a soaring cost of living, Jenny describes daily life in Juba and how the authorities are responding to coronavirus. Find out more


12th April - A MAF family separated by lockdown

MAF Pilot, Becki Dillingham, with husband Matt, Bethan and Luke

MAF Pilot, Becki Dillingham, had to complete special training in Uganda so flying in Chad could continue in the rainy season. Kissing her family goodbye, Becki expected to return 3 weeks later. Little did she know, the pandemic would scupper her plans and leave her separated from her family for 32 days. Find out more


11th April - Wau, South Sudan

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the WHO and South Sudan’s Ministry of Health request MAF to transport test kits to the north western city of Wau - a two-hour flight from Juba. MAF Pilot, Wim Hobo, says: ‘We’re very happy that we can keep flying in South Sudan and that we can support their people in this way.’


10th April - Sundarbans, Bangladesh

MAF Pilot, Chad Tilley, joins forces with Bangladeshi authorities and the Swiss Embassy to rescue a teacher and charity worker who are stranded by the lockdown in a remote area of the Sundarbans

MAF joins forces with the Bangladeshi authorities and Swiss Embassy to rescue a marine biology volunteer who is stranded by the lockdown in a remote area of the Sundarbans. MAF Pilot, Chad Tilley, flies her to the capital, Dhaka, just 90 minutes before the last EU evacuation flight departs for Germany.


9th April - Arusha, Tanzania

Despite changing circumstances, MAF Pilot, Kirstein Combrink, his wife, Amelia and their boys, still maintain an attitude of gratitude. Due to the government’s less stringent approach to coronavirus, Kirstein is still able to fly medics out to remote areas taking all the necessary precautions.


8th April - Mareeba, Australia

Mareeba - Mark One patient shield

Doctors at Mareeba Hospital needed more protection against coronavirus when they treated infected patients, so they contacted MAF for help.

In just one day, MAF Engineers, Phil Snell and Ben Sibthorpe, produced a special screen to help keep hospital staff safe.

More hospitals have made similar requests.



 7th April - Papua, Indonesia

Papua - COVID handout - posted 7 April 2020

In Indonesia, coronavirus cases are rising.

Papua based MAF Pilot, Kees Janse, has been helping to educate villagers about preventing the spread of the disease through social distancing.

Kees and other MAF staff have also been distributing fliers to locals in a bid to stay safe.



6th April - MAF flights drop to 20% across Africa

MAF plane grounded at sunset in Africa

Henk-Jan Muusse is MAF’s Regional Director of Africa. He’s been exploring how MAF can support African governments during this crisis. Full and partial lockdowns across the continent has reduced MAF’s flights to 20%. Henk-Jan explains the impact on operations and what’s being done to protect staff.                 Find out more


4th April - Papua New Guinea 

Papua New Guinean man holds a stack of Bibles - posted 4 April 2020

A PNG resident receiving Bibles distributed by MAF (June 2019) 

As states of emergency are announced across Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister, James Marape, claims that PNG is a ‘Christian nation’ and calls on his people to ‘join together in praying for God’s mercy.’ Regardless of limited health facilities, hope can always be found in God.


3rd April - ‘Find a Rainbow’ Day

Ellie painting - posted 3 April 2020

As you take your daily exercise, you’ll notice the hundreds of rainbow pictures displayed throughout your neighbourhood – a sign of support for Britain’s NHS and more importantly, a symbol of God’s faithfulness during a time of uncertainty and isolation.

Three-year-old Ellie shares her rainbow with us.



2nd April - Lesotho

Lesotho - Medevac patients and nurses are screened and wear PPE

As Lesotho in southern Africa enters into lockdown, MAF Pilot Grant Strugnell, describes the fragile reality of meeting the medical needs of the isolated, without infecting them with a potentially fatal disease. 

‘We take every precaution to ensure we’re not spreading coronavirus.’

Find out more



28th March - Zwedru, Liberia

Liberia flight for Ministry of Health - posted 30 March

MAF Pilot, Steven Biggs, was enjoying a cup of coffee one Saturday morning, when he was asked to help Liberia’s Ministry of Health with a suspected case of coronavirus in the remote town of Zwedru. In MAF’s first ever Covid-19 case, Steven flew to the rescue. Find out more


27th March - 'Partner in Prayer - Unsettled Times' video

As coronavirus advances across Britain and around the world, many of us feel unsettled and bewildered. MAF UK’s Prayer Communications Leader, Victoria Fagg, offers practical support and guidance during these very strange times. No matter what, God always brings light out of the darkness.


26th March - Kampala, Uganda

MAF Regional Avionics Manager, David Waterman, and his wife, Becky, have been self-isolating in Kampala. David explains how the virus has affected his work. Becky expresses her concerns about social distancing in such a densely populated area and how ‘lockdown’ could impact food security.


24th March - Chad

According to MAF Pilot, Phil Henderson, Chad is doing a ‘really good job’ in the face of this pandemic. Phil explains how MAF - in the absence of public transport - has been able to fly partners around the country so they are able to continue with their life-changing work.

22nd March – Kampala, Uganda

Jill and Greg Vine (R) with their three daughters (L)
MAF Uganda Comms Officer, Jill Vine, has been serving with MAF since 2007. The mum of three is married to MAF Pilot, Greg Vine. Together, they’ve been navigating their new norm – life in lockdown. Jill lifts the lid on life in the capital, Kampala. Find out more


20th March - Message from MAF UK’s CEO 

MAF UK coronavirus statement - posted 20th March 2020

As Britain enters into lockdown during unprecedented circumstances, MAF UK’s CEO, Ruth Whitaker, reminds us of the comforting, yet powerful words in Psalm 46: ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’ Read Ruth’s full statement including MAF’s initial response to coronavirus


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