Lesley Miller, Communications Manager at Mission Aviation Fellowship International says, “At this time we are not planning to send in any Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) aircraft but it has become clear that there is a real need for logistical support which MAF has the skills and experience to provide.”
There also appears to be an increasingly urgent need for a co-ordinated light helicopter response. This would potentially be aimed at providing a passenger service for humanitarian relief workers especially to get them out to the more isolated and higher altitude communities, which so far many agencies have been unable to reach. The MAF Disaster Response Team is assessing the possibility of setting up and co-ordinating a light helicopter response facility. Initial discussions have indicated it may be difficult to bring in external helicopters to Nepal and that it may be better to commission local helicopters to do this work. The team will continue to look at the options and feasibility of this.
Daniel Juzi, leader of the MAF Disaster Response Team in Nepal has met with a number of organisations, including the United Nations and Medair to see how they can partner together.
The MAF Disaster Response Team has already arranged their first set of flights for the UK government DFID (Department for International Development) to enable medics and an international search and rescue team to get out to a location which is only 20 nautical miles from Kathmandu. According to Daniel Juzi, “The region did not initially look remote but the situation out there is absolutely desperate and it would take 3.5 hours of driving, 8 hours journey on foot but only 8 minutes by air.”
“The MAF Disaster Response Team is assisting with the relief effort in a logistical capacity at Kathmandu airport. They are assisting airport authorities and organisations which include the World Food Programme and The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) with ramp management and planning, cargo handling and helping smaller NGOs with warehousing logistics and co-ordination,” concludes Miller.