MAF assists with Hurricane Relief in the Caribbean

Published: 20 Sep 2017

An MAF team is working with Samaritan’s Purse (SP) to provide disaster response to islands in the Caribbean Sea that experienced destruction from Hurricane Irma. The needs are very great, and over the past few days more MAF staff have arrived and our work has scaled-up.

A crew from MAF is at a Samaritan’s Purse disaster response base that has been set up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They are assisting with logistics and helping load airplanes with relief supplies such as tarps, hygiene kits, food, and water purification equipment. Over the past several days they have helped load some 36,200kg of cargo onto aircraft bound to disaster sites. 

According to MAF's Rick Emenaker 'On Saturday, Sept. 16, 36,000 lbs. of supplies were pulled from inventory and loaded onto two DC3 and Casa aircraft for flights to St. Martin and the Turks and Caicos islands. We also helped work on organising a warehouse so that it can handle the inventory flow in an orderly fashion. John Gorenflo has also been working on some IT needs for the San Juan team.'

Air support

A Cessna 206 aircraft from Suriname, arrived in St. Martin on Thursday, 14 September at 13:30 local time with a pilot and operations team member from MAF Suriname. They joined MAF staff already working on the island of St. Martin (which includes the Dutch nation of St Maarten and the French Collectivity of Saint-Martin). 

On Saturday survey flights of Barbuda, one of the places that was devastated by Irma, were carried out for Samaritans Purse (SP) and NBC news. Two local pastors were amongst the group.  

Pilot Jafeth Bruinink confirmed reports that 80 percent of homes on the island had been destroyed. 'Everything on the Island is completely destroyed, quite a few houses just have a foundation left. It looks just like Aceh looked after the Tsunami. There are no people on the Island right now for this reason, they've all been evacuated to Antigua.’ 

Relief efforts underway

‘SP is wanting to work with a couple churches and get them fixed up quickly so the community can use the church as a place to get clean water, food, and use a restroom… We started some minor clean up around the church. There is some police, military, and fire crew. They're all from Antigua, they're getting sent to Barbuda one week at a time.’

The Suriname Caravan, registration PZ-NMM, was the first fixed-wing airplane to land in Barbuda after the hurricane, and had to take care due to horses and goats around the airstrip. It is expected that the aircraft will be doing disaster-related flights in the islands (in cooperation with Samaritan’s purse) for three weeks. 

Unfortunately, with another large hurricane is now on its way, MAF have had to temporarily evacuate our aircraft and team to Grenada to wait out the hurricane.  Hurricane Maria is expected to pass over the Antigua-Barbuda-St. Martin on Tuesday, hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday, and possibly pass over part of Haiti on Thursday. It is uncertain how long the aircraft will stay in Grenada.

It is expected that our aircraft will be based in Antigua, providing shuttle flights for relief workers between Antigua and Barbuda, and medevacs or other flights in the region as needed but the situation could still change.

Please pray

Please pray with us for protection from Hurricane Maria remembering particularly those who may be injured and in need of medical aid.

Pray for protection from looting and violence in the damaged areas which has been a problem in some places.

Pray that through this crisis, many will turn to God and put their trust in Him.

Pray for true salvation decisions.

Pray for protection, health, and strength for our team and others providing disaster assistance.

Pray for availability of avgas so that our airplane can fly.