Assisting earthquake survivors in Nepal

Assisting earthquake survivors in Nepal

MAF Pilot Dave Forney takes a medical team to the hard-hit mountains of northern Nepal.

On 5 May 2015, MAF helped facilitate several flights for a UK medical team to a couple of isolated villages deep in the hard-hit mountains of northern Nepal. The team is co-ordinating their efforts with Save the Children.

We flew from Kathmandu Airport, where there is relatively minor damage, to the rugged, smoke and haze shrouded mountains to the north, documenting the critical needs that are out there.

Within 10 minutes, we saw small villages that had been turned to rubble, the situation worsening as we headed towards the more remote and isolated areas that haven’t received aid because no one can reach them.

Doing what we do best

That’s where MAF comes in! Although our MAF fleet consists of more than 130 light aircraft, we are currently managing the logistics, bookings and facilitation of two highly capable helicopters.

Thanks to the experienced crew in Nepal, we’re able to fly relief workers directly into the places where help is most desperately needed.

We’re doing what we do best – using aviation and technology to transform the lives of isolated people in need.

Sadly, one village we saw was completely wiped out – totally buried under tons of rock and earth. But there are many who have suffered extensively, and have waited a long time for help. Praise God – help is finally coming!

Extensive damage

When we arrived at the first location, the damage was extensive.

Many houses were destroyed by the quake or pulverized by a massive rockslide. A house-size boulder had carved a massive path down the mountainside, taking everything in its path with it.

As the medical team evaluated the needs, a continual cloud of dust and debris rose from the scarred mountain face 1,000 feet above.

Occasionally we could hear what sounded like distant machinegun fire, as large boulders bounced down the steep mountain face, getting louder as they got closer and closer.

 

Helping others

Yet despite the destruction, the people told us they were not the worst-off and, with the help of a local translator from Save the Children, they directed us to nearby villages that were even harder hit.

Throughout the day, the doctors treated the wounded and brought two patients back with them to the city hospital.

None of this would have been possible without the helicopter. Many areas are completely cut off by land. There are dozens of landslides, with roads cut in half in many locations.

It will be months before they are passable again.

Only the best

That’s exactly why MAF is facilitating the local flight team that does it best. These are the ones that routinely fly people into the highest, most rugged mountains in the world. They’ve done the highest altitude mountain rescue in the world.

With the crew’s ability to land helicopters in the toughest of locations, combined with MAF’s extensive experience of co-ordinating transportation logistics efficiently and effectively, we’re able to provide the crucial link that allows aid and relief workers to help the most desperate and isolated people in the entire Nepali earthquake relief effort.

Lives changed

Our flight today is just one of the many stories where lives were changed because of the efforts co-ordinated by MAF and made possible through the generosity of countless people around the world.