Airstrip still under water nearly one year later

By June 5, 2009

Haiti (MNN) — It's been more than eight months, but the city of Gonaives is still feeling the effects of hurricanes and tropical storm. The government is getting help from the United States in the form of $155 million to help prevent future mudslides and improve drainage in the lowland.

Mission Aviation Fellowship is also still feeling the effects. Will White, missionary pilot/mechanic with MAF states, "Our airstrip is still under water in Gonaives. That was the town that was impacted the most. A lot of people were killed there. Our airstrip is still underwater because it's sitting in a low lying area."

More than 800 people were killed as a result and thousands were displaced. In 2004, White says it took two years for the MAF airstrip to dry out.

The water-logged airstrip has affected the ministry. "Some of the church work teams that are traveling into that area," says White, "will actually fly to airstrips north of Gonaives and drive the rest of the way, or drive all the way from Port-Au-Prince."

"Current conditions may have slowed down the ministry in Gonaives itself," says White, "but throughout the rest of Haiti we're still busy flying. We have more flight requests than we can handle. MAF allows ministry teams to get out into the provinces and work a lot more efficiently. Instead of wasting two or three days traveling, they’re able to use those extra days to minister on the ground in Haiti."

Many of the roads surrounding Gonaives have been repaired, so food and other supplies are moving better, but there are concerns. "Now we're into the hurricane season for this year, so as storms come through we'll see how the roads hold up," says White.

He's asking you to pray to help improve their work. "We're definitely trying to get a larger plane for the Haiti program as we have a lot of large work teams that come down. Please pray for a larger plane and for more MAF staff. We’re a bit short."

The added plane would increase the number of aircraft to four in Haiti.

MAF needs pilot/mechanics and maintenance specialists.

If God is leading you to sponsor an MAF plane, or join the MAF team, go to http://www.MAF.org .

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