Nicaragua (MNN) — Mission Aviation Fellowship, a faith-based, non-profit organization that serves missions and isolated people around the world with aviation, communications and learning technologies, has been transporting assistance to the 50,000 people directly affected by Hurricane Felix on the Caribbean cost of Nicaragua.
The hurricane already has caused 100 deaths, while nearly 10,000 homes have been destroyed and another 9,000 partially destroyed, according to latest reports. Another 120 people are missing. An estimated 50,000 people have lost everything they own. More than 1,200 acres of corn have been lost in the municipalities of Wiwili and San Jose de Bocay.
Displaced people from 52 locations near the coast are staying in 101 shelters.
Aerial reports indicate damages greater than first believed, especially among the Moskito Indians along the coast, reports John Woodberry, MAF's disaster response manager.
Speaking from Nicaragua, Woodberry says, "We've been partnering with Operation Blessing and Missionary Flights International out of Florida basically because there's no road access to the area. There's a big river between here and there, and the barge got blown away in the hurricane. So there's a need to provide rice, beans, corn flour, salt, sugar–just basic supplies like that."
The "air bridge" to bring in supplies from Managua began Sunday, says Woodberry, but "the road is about open now. So we've been doing this for three or four days. We'll do it a couple more, and then we'll return home."
Churches in Managua have taken up special offerings, and MAF and their others partners have delivered the supplies to those in need on the coast. Woodberry says church involvement will have an impact on those affected. "They know it's the church meeting their need."
Woodberry is asking Christians to continue to pray "for safety for the operation and that Jesus would be honored and glorified by the people who receive these gifts there. Pray also that God's kingdom would grow and many would be blessed in this time of need."
Founded in 1945, MAF stations some 200 missionary families in the most remote regions of 26 countries on five continents. MAF pilots fly approximately 40,000 flights a year, transporting missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conducting thousands of emergency medical evacuations. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail, and other wireless systems in isolated areas.