There has been an extremely positive response from the NGOS working in Nepal on the helicopter service MAF is facilitating, which launched on Saturday 9 May.
At least 24 NGOs and organisations have been registered to use this service - including Operation Mobilization, Salvation Army, Swiss Development Cooperation, and UK International Emergency Trauma Register. Our DIsaster Response team is working flat out booking and planning essential and often life-changing flights for these dedicated organisations. The flights opens up new possibilities to bring help, hope and healing to the many remote villages cut off from food, shelter and medical help.
When Joel Kaiser, Medair’s Emergency Response Officer, met with MAF’s Daniel Juzi about the available flights, he responded, “This enables us to completely refocus our efforts and reach the remotest areas, which is our core mission.”
“This enables us to completely refocus our efforts and reach the remotest areas, which is our core mission.”
Joel Kaiser, Emergency Response Officer, Medair
United Missions for Nepal
The two helicopters - flown by Fishtail Air and co-ordinated by MAF, are working long hours each day to bring help.
Local NGO United Missions for Nepal were among the first to be flown, and arranged to fly packages of relief food into the isolated village of Jharlang. Most of the people who sat on the ground watching the heavy bags filled with lentils, salt, beaten rice, and dried noodles off-loaded from the helicopter had lost their homes.
Jerry Clewett, UMN’s Technical Director said: 'Without those helicopters, we could not reach those villages. The last two days we’ve been using those helicopters first of all to take people to help with the organisation of the distribution and to access the conditions there and then to take goods. Without the helicopter, those villages would have nothing as far as we’re aware, so these can be real lifesavers. For UMN we’re very grateful for the partnership with MAF.'
we facilitated flights for a team of five medical personnel from the UK International Emergency Trauma Register. The medical team were flown to Gatlang, north-west of Katmandu, which cannot be reached by road, where they planned to run a day mobile medical clinic and do a full needs assessment for further long-term support of the region.
One great example of the difference these helicopters are making is shared by David Couzens, from Tearfund, whose team wanted to head north to Rasuwa, an area very badly hit by the earthquake with a landscape changed beyond recognition and a devastated and displaced community, in order to assess the needs. It is the worst affected district according to UN calculations with nearly 82% of households damaged to some degree. He said:
'We’re using MAF to get there because to be honest there would be no other way of getting there. It would take us about a day to drive there and about another day to walk in. So this is saving a huge amount of time and enabling us to get to some of the really distant, far off places. We were looking to get to Rasuwa and we weren’t quite sure how and then the email came in saying you (MAF) were open and operational and so we jumped in the car and drove straight to your offices and I think we were there just as you were opening the door so we were first in the queue probably. It’s made a huge difference and saved a vast amount of time.'