On Thursday, 24 September MAF in Nepal flew our 4,000th passenger in the earthquake relief efforts. Fittingly – our 4,000th passenger was the Country Director for Medecins du Monde (MDM). Since the very first weeks of our work in Nepal, MDM has been utilising MAF-coordinated helicopter flights to transport their medical relief teams into remote villages to provide medical care, psychological care, training and medical supplies in areas heavily damaged by the earthquakes.
Her circular homestead garden is raised to avoid flooding (which is a regular occurrence), with a compost pile in the centre to make sure nothing is wasted. The vegetables she grows feed her family all year round helping to fight malnutrition which is so common in cyclone prone coastal vil…lages.
The project began with only 100 gardens. Since then the number has increased since then to over 1,600 gardens – each tended by an individual family. Many ‘copy’ gardens beginning to spring up – the idea is obviously catching – which means less people are going hungry!
MAF serves Terre de Hommes by regularly flying technical staff to remote areas of Bangladesh. Together they bring hope help and healing to families like Salma’s
An urgent call had come from Balimo Hospital asking for an immediate medevac.
But MAF pilot Markus Bischoff knew there was a big problem: Balimo airstrip was closed.
Two men had been out hunting in this swampy area, and as dusk descended Gawak’s friend mistook him for prey and accidentally speared him in the back! It wasn’t until the next morning that Gawak was taken to the hospital in Balimo, only to be told they did not have a doctor there. He would have to be urgently relocated to Kiunga Hospital.
But even an emergency flight with MAF posed serious risk, as blood and other fluids from the wound had collected in Gawak’s chest cavity, restricting his good lung from fully functioning. Once at high altitude, he would barely be able to breathe. His only option was to have minor surgery and drain his lung before he even took flight. The only doctor available who could perform this surgery was Dr Sharon, who was away visiting outstation clinics.
Markus re-routed his flight to pick up the doctor, who also brought Dorothy with her, a woman who was suffering from a tubal pregnancy which was close to rupturing.
After landing at Kawito – the nearest airstrip to Balimo – they waited for Gawak to arrive up the river by boat, along with another patient from the hospital. Abilo had suffered a knife stab wound and would also need to be transferred to Kiunga Hospital for treatment.
Finally, after performing the emergency surgery under the dilapidated roof of Kawito’s open air terminal, Dr Sharon and the three patients left for Kiunga. As it turned out, Dr. Sharon had to perform emergency surgery on Dorothy the next day, just as the fallopian tube burst. If Markus had not picked her up along the way, Dorothy would not have survived.
Please help us fund these medevacs. Your tax-deductible donation will help us perform these flights.
Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/a-spear-in-the-back-150604
At the moment it looks likely that we will try to extend our disaster response phase of work in Nepal by another month (3 months total) – so taking us into August. After that the team are looking at what the needs and opportunities may be for MAF to be involved longer term to assist with the recovery phase to assist the Nepalis in rebuilding their lives and communities following the devastating quakes over the last month.
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The flight operation in numbers
Since 9 May, the MAF coordinated project has:
– Flown 205.8 hours to 114 different landing locations in 8 districts
– Conducted 473 separate flight legs
– Carried 825 passengers
– Carried 84.6 MT (metric tonnes or 84,649 kg) of relief and aid airfreight
– Conducted 7 aeromedical evacuation flight legs including three on 21 May for the Norwegian Red Cross
The project continues to see strong demand for the service with flight booking lead time out to 5 days presently. We are seeing a number of smaller Nepalese NGOs registering for the coordinated flight service, demonstrating significant local engagement. Of the approximate 65 organisations registered for the coordinated flight service, around 1/3 are Nepalese NGOs.
Continuing aftershocks and the imminet monsoon
There continue to be occasional aftershocks which, while not unsettling the MAF team, do invoke a significant reaction from Nepali people who rush from buildings. Also there are still many people camping in open areas as they either have a severely damaged house or are too scared to go back home.
This will become problematic once the monsoon starts (expected two weeks) though it is raining at night now. The monsoon will also compound access issues in remote areas where unstable hillsides from the twin quakes are expected to cause many landslips that will affect surface transport options by cutting off roads and trails. The monsoon will also result in reduced available flight hours – the operator is telling us by 30% to 50% availability – so this will impact the flight program.
– The team are presently working 11 hour days 7 days per week with some additional phone calls and emails into the evening. Please pray for stamina. Some staff have had some minor stomach upsets so please pray for good health.
– There are a number of staff changes in the coming week with people rotating in and out so please pray for rapid and smooth handovers and good ongoing teamwork.
– Family back home: Many on the team either have been away a long time or are starting a long stint. Some will be away from home more than a month. They have asked for prayer for their families through this time that they are away. Brent’s family is still settling into a new home and town, only now doing it without him.
– Please pray for wisdom for the Disaster Response team members, and all the MAF leadership as they seek to discern what the future for MAF is in Nepal.
– Praise for the positive relationships of trust and respect that continue to grow between MAF Staff and the Fishtail Air staff.
– Pray for the Nepali people, for the ongoing trials this disaster has caused and that they may now be able to start the recovery process.
Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/nepal-update-the-long-haul-150530