About MAF Staff

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.

Please support MAF’s work in Nepal: click here

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.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers

   – 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

story and photos courtesy of CARE

The village of Yarsa in the Sindhupalchok district of eastern Nepal, had already been seriously damaged by the first earthquake on 25 April. Many homes had been razed to the ground and possessions and food lost. CARE teams were in the village doing an assessment for the needs of the community, when suddenly the second earthquake stuck Nepal on 12 May.

During the quake, Nima was trapped under falling rubble from her house. She suffered a severe hip fracture and was bleeding internally.

She needed urgent medical attention in order to save her life. But the only road down to the nearby town of Melamchi was cut off by landslides and there was no access in or out of the village. 

CARE called on MAF to facilitate a flight to medically evacuate Nima Dolma Tamang and take her to hospital in Kathmandu.

Luckily there was a local Nepalese volunteer doctor in the village already assisting those injured by the first quake, and he was able to perform some initial lifesaving interventions before the helicopter arrived.

Thanks to the medevac her condition was stabilised in hospital and her life was saved.

Nima was successfully discharged from hospital on 14 May.

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/medevac-in-nepal-saves-womans-life-150520


See film clip at https://vimeo.com/127570706

11016975_996785277007845_6898012951411996814_nStory and photo LuAnne Cadd

The MAF Disaster Team on the ground in Nepal continues to be extremely busy with the co-ordination work of the helicopter response facility, especially since the second quake earlier this week. Many organisations are having to re-evaluate where they need to deploy staff and aid resources – both to areas hit hardest by the initial quake and the subsequent quakes this week.

In some villages, two-thirds of the houses had collapsed in the first earthquake on 25th April. After the second earthquake on 12th May, all remaining houses have been destroyed.

It is clear that there is a huge demand and need for our service which does not appear to diminish. The subsidised flights we are able to co-ordinate are providing a unique lifeline, especially for many smaller faith-based NGOs.

MAF partners with NGO Acted

Less than 24 hours after the second strong earthquake rocked Nepal, MAF coordinated helicopter flights to the epicentre to assess the damange. The 7.3 quake caused panic among many Nepali people with the memory of the devastating 25th April earthquake still fresh from three weeks before.

The epicenter for the latest quake was east of Kathmandu this time in an area that was not listed as priority in the relief effort. For this reason, a French NGO, Acted, wanted to quickly check on the condition of the villages in that area to see if they needed immediate assistance.

What we saw was shocking. Nearly every home lay in a pile of rubble.

Even the few houses that were still standing obviously suffered serious damage – too damaged to live in, especially with the multiple aftershocks the country is still receiving.

The helicopter pilot searched for a place to land, finally choosing a narrow flat spot with drop-offs on both sides, and cracks in the earth running through several sections. It was empty of people, but a village lay a short distance away. Within minutes villagers came running. The two Acted staff, Elena Tifrea and Toma Dursima, gathered information from the people. Once they found someone who spoke English, they learned the hard news: in the village of 500 people and about 150 homes, the first earthquake destroyed two-thirds of the houses. The earthquake yesterday finished off the last 50. None were habitable.

No one had come to help. No tarps brought, no food.

They had some food left, noodles and biscuits only, they said. The water pipes had broken, latrines destroyed, everything gone.

One man kept saying, “We have nothing, nothing.” It was truly heartbreaking.

As we flew away, Elena and Toma began making plans to come back as soon as possible with tarps and food, not only for this village but also for others equally damaged near the epicenter.

Although it’s distressing to see such loss and devastation, organizations like Acted are able to get to these remote places with the help of MAF coordinating the subsidized helicopter flights.

Elena said, “Thank you for your support, MAF. We could not do it without you.”

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/nepal-update-changes-after-second-earthquake-150516

Over the weekend our Disaster Response Team have been working hard in Nepal as part of the urgent relief effort needed following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred 12 days ago (April 25 2015).

We initially believed our key involvement would be in helping authorities and relief agencies with logistics at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu including ramp management and planning, cargo handling, warehousing logistics and coordination. However, over the course of the last few days we have become increasingly involved in facilitating urgently needed helicopter flights enabling medical and search and rescue teams to quickly reach remote and isolated areas.

Due to good relations with contacts in Nepal built over many years, over the last few days MAF have secured the use of two Airbus AS350 helicopters operated by a helicopter company based in Nepal. On Friday 1 May the MAF team received a request from the UK government Department for International Development (DFID) to use these helicopters to rescue eight British tourists who were stranded at a monastery at Serang Gompa, Bihi near Lho.

On Saturday the helicopters were mobilized and the British nationals successfully rescued.

You can read more here.

The location didn’t initially look that isolated as it was only  20 nautical miles but the situation out there was absolutely desperate and it would take 3.5 hours of driving and 8 hours trek on foot.

This work continued over the weekend, with a 4 further flights on behalf of DFID to fly UK Search and Rescue teams to different locations and yesterday we flew a surgical team from UK who will be stationed for two days at remote villages to carry out life-saving operations. Due to the success of the work this weekend and the clear and urgent need for a co-ordinated light helicopter response facility for NGOs to use to transport humanitarian aid workers, the UK government DFID have agreed to part-fund MAF to set up and run a co-ordinated helicopter facility and the MAF Member Groups will be launching fundraising activity to raise the additional funds we need for this important life-saving work.

6 MAF staff have formed our well-equipped Disaster Response Team and will continue to coordinate our support in Nepal.

In addition to the helicopter flight facilitation over the weekend, the team have also been working on logistics at the airport including training on the DFID-donated cargo loading equipment (see photo).

Using this equipment means improved and accelerated flow of aid cargo with quicker delivery to aid agencies and ultimately earlier distribution to end beneficiaries and faster cargo extraction from aircraft to transit area thus freeing up apron slots at the airport for more landings per day. In addition to using this equipment to assist smaller NGOs and the UN World Food Programme, the aim is also for the MAF team to train national Nepali staff at the airport to use this equipment to help build ongoing staff capacity to continue cargo handling operations in a safe and efficient manner.

Please pray

Please continue to pray for our team on the ground in Nepal. Pray for strength and wisdom as they work so hard to meet the increasing demands for our services. Praise the Lord for the successful flights that we have been able to facilitate so far and for the estimated 4,000 humanitarian relief workers currently engaged in this relief effort. Pray also for our fundraisers across the whole MAF family as they engage with donors and supporters and share the work we are doing in Nepal.

Please also continue to pray for the people of Nepal. With a death toll of more than 7,500 and over 14,500 injured, the country now faces the risk of serious outbreaks of disease. A lack of shelter, contaminated water and poor sanitation could lead to cholera, dysentery and other water-borne diseases and urgent action is needed to tackle this before the rainy season starts in June. The UN also estimates that there are 3 million people in need of food aid, 130,000 houses destroyed and 24,000 people living in makeshift camps.

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/nepal-earthquake-maf-reaching-the-isolated-150507