MAF has agreed to join the relief effort in Nepal after the nation was struck by its largest earthquake in 80 years.
After conducting a needs assessment, it has become clear to our Disaster Response Team in Nepal that there is a real need for logistical support in the relief effort, which MAF has the skills and experience to provide, along with a light helicopter relief service, which we are also looking to co-ordinate.
Better logistics, more relief
MAF now joins the relief effort in a logistical capacity in the first instance to work at Kathmandu airport to assist airport authorities and organisations like the World Food Programme and UNHAS with ramp management and planning, cargo handling and helping smaller NGOs with warehousing logistics and co-ordination.
This will help increase the effectiveness of the aviation response, which is vital when millions of people are in urgent need of relief.
Helicopters urgently needed
There are many isolated and higher altitude communities in urgent need of help but haven't yet been reached.
We are therefore looking to set up a co-ordinated light helicopter response facility to transport humanitarian relief workers to these places.
Our Disaster Response Team will continue to look into the options and feasibility of this.
Flight saves 11 hours
The team has already arranged their first set of flights for the UK Government's DFID (Department for International Development) to enable medics and an international search and rescue team to get out to a location which was only 20 nautical miles from Kathmandu. The situation there is absolutely desperate and by land it would take 3.5 hours of driving followed by an 8-hour trek on foot.
MAF expands disaster response team
Daniel Juzi will continue to lead the MAF team in Nepal along with Alan Robinson, and they will be joined in the next 48 hours by Pilot Brent Palmer coming in from the USA, Pilot Mike Bottrell and wife Jennifer from the Timor-Leste and Pilot Dave Forney from Uganda. David assisted with the Philippines relief effort in 2013 after typhoon Haiyan hit.
Other MAF staff are also being made available to join the effort over the coming weeks.