Haiti (MNN) — It’s been over three months since Hurricane Matthew smothered the western side of Haiti and impacted the lives of 1.2 million people on October 4, 2016. During that brief time of devastation, the media’s lens was fixed on the struggling island nation. Now filed away as one of the worst natural disasters of 2016, the effects of Hurricane Matthew are still being felt in Haitian communities, especially as we approach the vital spring planting season for farmers.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report two days ago on the current situation in Haiti post-Hurricane Matthew. Over 6,000 agricultural families had their livelihoods taken from them by the storm in the western Sud region of Haiti. To assist these farming regions, $500,000 USD have been pledged.
Cholera was another major concern after the hurricane, and within two weeks potential cholera cases rose to 1,500 people. The number of cases have subsided since then; but three months out, cholera remains a problem in six regions of Haiti.
As far as ministry support, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has been on the ground since day one of Hurricane Matthew because they have a base in Haiti. MAF exists to enable missions in hard-to-reach places through aviation services and technology training. Since the hurricane, MAF has transported some 80 different ministries and organizations bringing aid and relief. Where roads and bridges were destroyed, and in areas where ground travel is unsafe, MAF has been helping aid workers reach communities in need.
John Boyd, President and CEO of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), explains, “…. When the hurricane hit, the devastation was primarily to the west of the island, and we rotated in extra aircraft and extra pilots and crews. And of course now the media spotlight is off Haiti, and we’re still there, we’re still doing a lot of what we call ‘mopping up’ and helping rebuild.” For MAF, this means delivering food, building supplies, medical teams, medicines, and other critical items.
The big picture purpose behind why MAF engages in aviation ministry and disaster relief? To be the hands and feet of Christ to the distressed and the isolated.
“There’s still teams from other organizations down there, so we’re very instrumental in maintaining at what MAF does really well, and that’s just reaching out to people who are really lost and hurting, and we continue that effort,” says Boyd.
“Thousands of people lost everything. So we’re very conscious of what God has us doing in these regions, and we will stay in Haiti and continue to operate there.”
So what is the biggest need in Haiti right now, and for outreach efforts?
Boyd shared that even before the hurricane, so many Haitian people lived in poverty. Now the suffering is even greater. Food security is an issue, as are lack of shelter and safe drinking water. Many schools were damaged and still have not reopened.
Boyd asks for prayer for “the weariness and the stress of the MAF people, but more so for the Haitian people and what their needs are.”
Anyone involved in long-term disaster relief will tell you the work can be very draining. Please pray for MAF’s team in Haiti, that they would be bolstered in spirit and in their resources, to be able to press on in enabling recovery efforts through aviation.
If you’d like to be a physical blessing as well to the MAF Haiti team, click here to donate at their website. Financial gifts are one way the global Body of Christ can come together in showing Haiti that they are not forgotten.
“Right as you and I speak, we continue our ministry and we continue doing as much as we can to reach out to the Haitian people.”