MAF’s Disaster Response Team has been working to assess how we may be able to help after a serious 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country on Saturday.
The scenes emerging on the media are horrifying. More than 4,500 people are confirmed dead, with a further 8,000 injured. The Nepali Government suspects the death toll may rise to 10,000. The destruction has left tens of thousands of people displaced and ongoing aftershocks mean many more are afraid to return to their homes.
Landslides, heavy rains, limited access to isolated areas and a lack of food and water are immediate concerns in the rescue effort.
MAF staff have arrived
We are in communication with several partner relief agencies and have sent two MAF staff to conduct initial needs assessment activity on the ground in Nepal. One arrived on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday – and will be in a better position to link in with organisations on the ground to see what is needed and how MAF can help.
Initial research has indicated that there are many remote hill villages now almost entirely cut off and without aid – but that the need will be for small helicopters rather than bigger aircraft.
Working with NGOs
MAF staff have already met with a number of organisations, including the UN and Medair. Medair staff are encountering serious road access constraints at the moment with it taking 3 hours to drive the equivalent of 10 nautical miles (that would take around 4 minutes in a MAF 208 Caravan.)
At the moment there still seems a limited need for our aircraft and we have not heard of any fixed wing airstrips in areas which need urgent disaster response. There is a need for smaller helicopters especially to transport relief workers out into the most remote areas. We are currently looking at whether we can help co-ordinate a light helicopter service using a local operator or work with an organisation like Helimission and we are also seeing if we could help provide assistance at the airport – especially with logistical management, ramp planning and cargo loading/unloading.
The MAF team in Mongolia have their Cessna Caravan aircraft on standby to go to Nepal if required. Flight permissions are being looked into and obtained in case it is decided that we need to send a plane in.
MAF’s expertise in aviation and communications has helped save lives in situations including the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the Boxing Day tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia in 2004/5.
At present, no donations are needed for Nepal unless our response escalates. However, you can pray.
Please pray for Nepal:
– For people affected by the earthquake in Nepal and surrounding regions.
– For those mourning the loss of friends and family.
– For NGOs already on the ground assisting with the disaster response.
– Praise the Lord for the stories of rescue we are hearing and please pray for safety for all those relief workers trying to assist.
– For wisdom for our disaster relief team as they travel in Nepal to get a clear idea of how we can best serve and respond to the disaster.