Working Together Through the Storm

MAF supporters and key partners make for great teamwork when it comes to helping people recover from deadly storms

The succession of storms that recently hit the Caribbean islands echo Hurricane Matthew’s assault on Haiti nearly one year ago.

MAF staff at the Haitian base waited anxiously as Irma passed by their recovering country earlier this month. Prayers were definitely answered as the people of Haiti were spared from the worst of the storm. There was no major damage to report in that country. Praise God!

A look back at the recovery effort in Haiti, nearly one year since Hurricane Matthew, reveals what supporters like you, MAF, and our other partners have helped accomplish.

It wasn’t long before roads opened again and trucks were able to get through. After a few months, MAF flights started to return to a more regular flight schedule.

“All the relief organizations left a long time ago,” said MAF Haiti Program Manager David Carwell. “Development organizations are more long-term, helping with some of the bigger projects, like schools, churches, bigger structures that needed repair. The region just took a hit that’s not easy to bounce back from.”

David Carwell in Jacmel, Haiti, October 2016.

In a follow-up survey flight, Carwell could still see the plastic tarps distributed by aid organizations after the hurricane being used as temporary roofs. This presents a problem as the tarps weren’t meant for long-term use, and many have not been replaced. Most people don’t have the money to buy the tin sheets needed to replace them.

Colorful tarps covering homes in northwest Haiti, as seen during an aerial survey in December 2016. Photo by Liz Schandorff.

But one organization is making a dent when it comes to helping more shiny tin roofs dot the countryside around the city of Jeremie.

Haiti Bible Mission (HBM) is a key partner with MAF, and they have been helping residents replace their makeshift roofs—plastic tarps—with brand new tin roofs. MAF regularly flies in visiting short-term church teams that come twice a month to help HBM with roofing projects, and other ministry related work.

“We have been doing 10-12 houses a week,” said HBM Executive Director Mark Stockeland. “But when MAF brings a team from the USA to help we double our production in that week.”

MAF pilots flew teams from Providence Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, several times following Matthew. Providence is a big supporter of HBM, and their teams have helped rebuild many homes in the Jeremie area.


Members of the Augustin family. Photo courtesy of Haiti Bible Mission.

The Augustin family of eight were living under one “roof”—made of multiple tarps pinned together. They are one of the recipients of a new tin roof put on by HBM and a team from Providence. Now the Augustins will have better protection from the elements and a more comfortable living environment.

A Providence team works on installing a tin roof in Haiti. Photo courtesy of Haiti Bible Mission.

“Thank you MAF for making it possible for this team—and many other teams—to come to our city and help us rebuild homes and lives,” said HBM’s Krista Germeil.

As supporters of MAF, you also play a part in helping the Haitian families rebuild.

What’s next for hurricane season?  

While Haiti’s residents are likely breathing a collective sigh of relief at the moment, Haiti’s neighbors to the southeast are reeling from the effects of two hurricanes one after the other.

Members of the MAF Disaster Response team are in the Caribbean, on the ground and in the air, making sure that aid workers and supplies can get to the people who are in desperate need.

MAF Pilot Jafeth Bruinink conducts a survey flight over the island of Dominica. Photo by John Woodberry.

“MAF is working with Samaritan’s Purse (SP) to survey the needs and bring help to the islands that have been torn apart by hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said John Woodberry, global manager of disaster response for MAF.

Evidence of the destructive force of Hurricane Maria in Dominica. Photo by John Woodberry.

“On Wednesday (the 20th) we flew an MAF airplane to Dominica and so much there has been destroyed. About 75 percent of the houses are missing roofs. Dominica has mountains and rivers which caused horrendous flash flooding as Hurricane Maria passed over, so I saw warehouses that were just obliterated,” Woodberry said. “People were pulling things out of the rubble. Everything is chaotic.”

MAF’s Rick Emenaker helps load tarps onto a Samaritan’s Purse aircraft in the Caribbean. Photo by Elliot Stoddard.

An airplane from MAF’s affiliate program in Suriname was deployed to assist in the region, mainly doing survey flights and carrying SP personnel. MAF staff are also providing logistics support.

Please be in prayer for those who are suffering from this year’s storms. And pray that the teams on the ground will work together seamlessly, so that many can receive the help they need.

Thank you for partnering with MAF and for the role you play in bringing help during life’s many storms.

 

 

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