The heartbreaking impact of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal that killed an estimated 8,000 people and injured thousands more extends to loved ones engaged in the near-impossible task of learning the fate of friends and relatives who have not been heard from since the disaster struck.
Many of those still missing may be safe, but remain cut off from communications in remote areas. Others may be alive but in need of urgent medical attention.
One humanitarian organization involved in the effort to find out and respond is Nampa, Idaho-based Mission Aviation Fellowship. The group is providing flight services with two helicopters, and logistical support for relief efforts in Nepal.
"We keep hearing about the many people in remote parts of Nepal who are suffering or injured, but no one is able to reach them," said John Boyd, the group’s president, in a news release. "MAF’s disaster response team has mobilized helicopters to take relief workers to those areas that have been cut off from help."
The organization, recently active in relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake of 2010, Typhoon Haiyan in southeast Asia in 2013, and the Ebola outbreak of 2014, is working to bring logistical efficiency to the overwhelmed the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu as aid workers come and go and relief flights are launched.
"MAF is experienced in coordinating air transportation and other disaster response logistics. We are serving both airport staff and relief agencies so that help can reach those who need it most," Boyd said.
On May 10, helicopter flights began transporting search-and-rescue and medical teams to mountain locations and remote villages, Boyd said.
"People are in need of medical care, food, water, and shelter. The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service and the World Food Program have been providing food to some of the hardest-hit areas; however, they are unable to transport relief workers or conduct medical evacuations," he said.
Mission Aviation Fellowship has established a relief fund accessible on the organization’s website in an effort to raise $200,000 needed to fund the relief flights and logistical support. Founded in 1945, the fellowship manages a fleet of 132 aircraft operating in 31 countries through a family of organizations with a shared Christian mission of serving people in need through aviation and technology.