Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is responding to a humanitarian crisis caused by Cyclone Idai, which struck Mozambique March 14.
The Nampa, Idaho-based Christian aviation organization has been conducting assessment flights and working with Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and other non-government organizations (NGOs) in coordinating rescue and relief efforts.
Flight surveys reveal significant damage to the EN6 roadway, a major highway between Beira and Chimoio, with entire sections washed out by flood water, and other roadways under water and bridges damaged or gone.
Additional flight surveys going south into the Buzi River basin show the area has deep and widespread flooding with entire buildings under water and people stranded on rooftops surrounded by water.
MAF pilot and disaster response team member Rick Emenaker reported on what he saw on the survey flight:
It was a heartbreaking flight today as we flew over many miles of flooded land in the Buzi River basin. We saw many people stranded on roof tops surrounded by kilometers of water. It was difficult to comprehend and think about that probably many have perished. A number of villages were completely buried in the flood waters. The magnitude of this disaster is hard to comprehend, and we are glad we can be here to help. Please keep the people of Mozambique in prayer as they struggle with this difficult situation that has no short-term end in sight.”
Information from the aerial surveys is shared with INGC and other NGOs to coordinate relief efforts. Mercy Air, a helicopter operation, is coordinating with MAF and distributing boxes of high-energy biscuits in areas completely cut off by flooding. The food is being provided by the World Food Program (WFP).
MAF’s Cessna Grand Caravan will continue to be used for survey flights throughout the week as INGC and WFP ask for additional information. The fixed-wing aircraft may also be utilized as an air bridge to bring in bulk supplies and fuel for distribution, as well as relief worker rotations.