Hurricane Maria ripped apart homes and caused destruction across Dominica, Barbuda, and other Caribbean islands already reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma.
As families in the Caribbean struggle to recover, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has staff on the ground and in the air providing assistance.
“MAF is working with Samaritan’s Purse to survey the needs and bring help to the islands that have been torn apart by hurricanes Maria and Irma,” said John Woodberry, global manager of disaster response for MAF.
“On Sept. 21, we flew a MAF airplane to Dominica and so much there has been destroyed. About 75% of the houses are missing roofs. Dominica has mountains and rivers which caused horrendous flash flooding as Hurricane Maria passed over, so I saw warehouses that were just obliterated,” he said. “People were pulling things out of the rubble. Everything is chaotic.”
At the airport in Dominica, the team met Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica, who asked for assistance for his country at this critical time.
Disaster response is one area of expertise for Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian mission and aid organization that uses airplanes and other technologies to reach the most isolated places of the world, according to officials. In times of crisis, the organization’s personnel provide air transportation, communication systems, and logistics support so that disaster response teams can effectively aid the suffering.
MAF staff have been providing logistics support at a staging area established in Puerto Rico. A second MAF team had been working out of Saint Maarten with an airplane to provide aerial surveys of hurricane damage from Hurricane Irma and meet other needs.
Following Hurricane Maria, that team moved its base to Antigua and completed an aerial survey of damage to Barbuda, and worked on repairing generators in Barbuda.
MAF is also planning to deploy a GATR satellite communication system to Dominica to help get communications up and running on the island.
Mission Aviation Fellowship operates a fleet of some 130 airplanes across Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America. Since 1945, MAF has enabled the work of churches, relief organizations, missionaries, medical teams, development agencies, and others working to make life better for those who live in the most isolated parts of the world. In recent years, MAF has responded to disasters in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, in Nepal following two deadly earthquakes in 2015, and in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.