MAF to begin humanitarian flights in Haiti in wake of hurricane Matthew

Published: 5 Oct 2016

MAF to begin humanitarian flights in Haiti in wake of hurricane Matthew

MAF is ready to help as the most powerful storm in a decade hit Haiti earlier this week, with initial reports of damage to homes, bridges and roads and with thousands of people displaced.

Category 4 hurricane Matthew is, according to the UN, expected to be the worst humanitarian crisis to hit Haiti since the earthquake in 2010, after it swept north with winds up to 145mph and huge rainfall totals.

However, the scope of the damage is still uncertain and our team will assess needs to determine MAF's level of response.

The airport in the capital Port-au-Prince was closed Monday and Tuesday,. Once it reopens on Wednesday, MAF's team expects to begin conducting humanitarian flights.

Worst-hit areas cut off from help

Haiti map - MAFMedia outlets are reporting damage to homes, communications, bridges, and roads as well as flooding and landslides.

A bridge on the main road connecting the badly-affected southern peninsula and the capital Port-au-Prince is damaged, which will impede access by land at a critical time. The MAF Disaster Response team is in contact with the Haiti staff, and is prepared to mobilise additional personnel and aircraft if the need is more than the Haiti team can handle alone.

A substantial response is possible, but the crippled infrastructure means it often takes several days to fully understand the needs.

A nation in recovery

MAF Haiti Programme Manager David Carwell reports that all MAF's international families are safe, and the team is still checking on the Haitian staff members.

MAF operates three light aircraft in Haiti. On Sunday, the team evacuated a Canadian woman from Dame Marie ahead of the storm.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The nation is still recovering from the devastating earthquake in 2010 which killed 200,000 people, which MAF was heavily involved in a large relief effort.

MAF, which has been serving in Haiti for 30 years, also conducted emergency relief flights following a series of tropical storms and hurricanes in 2008.

Anyone seeking information about booking flights in Haiti can contact the programme at flyhaiti@maf.org.

Please lift up the people of Haiti and others in the path of the storm.