By BosNewsLife Americas Service
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (BosNewsLife)– A major Christian mission organization stepped up efforts Tuesday, January 18, to coordinate relief efforts in Haiti as the death toll of last week’s earth quake was expected to be at least 200,000, officials said.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) said it is serving “an essential role in coordinating arrival and distribution” of relief through its hangar at the Port-au-Prince international airport. It came amid reports Tuesday, January 19, that frustration is mounting among Haitians who say they still have no access to food, water and medical treatment.
MAF, a Christian missionary organization that provides air transportation, communications, technology and education specialists to support missionary efforts and humanitarian needs in hard-to-reach areas, has been active in Haiti since 1986. MAF said in a statement it knows Haitian culture, language, people and geography. “Seven MAF missionary families, seven national staff members, and three aircraft have served 16 airstrips from a base of operations in Port-au-Prince,” MAF added.
MAF said it is also helping “many international relief agencies and humanitarian organizations that have arrived in the country coordinate their operations” as well as media.
MAF said it is setting up “critically important” emergency communications systems to help in the effort. MAF was also involved in helping relief efforts during other disasters including during the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Felix and Cyclone Sidr in 2007, and the Haitian hurricanes of 2008.
SEVERAL MISSION GROUPS
The organization is among several Christian mission groups and churches active in Haiti, BosNewsLife learned. However many churches have reportedly been destroyed by Haiti’s worst earth quake in centuries. The European Union has pledged $500 million in aid to Haiti and individual European countries have pledged a further $100 million, officials said.
However as former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited the quake ravaged capital, promising to step up the delivery of aid, the people in the city say they are still going without. Inoge Laviette of the international aid organization Action Against Hunger said it is the first time he has delivered water to these people who camped across from the presidential Palace.
“The people have to walk around and go blocks away to find what water they can. Sometimes when they are desperate; they will drink any water – even dirty water with bacteria – to survive,” Laviette told the Voice of America (VOA) network.