MAF US, based in Nampa, Idaho is on the front lines of the cyclone disaster relief efforts in Mozambique. The cyclone hit on March 14. Winds over 100 miles per hour flattened homes and left some underwater. The storm also destroyed water sanitation systems, raising concerns among aid workers that waterborne diseases could spread more easily.
Aircraft are doing flight surveys and helping deliver supplies to areas cut off by massive flooding that has already killed 200 people. It is estimated that the death toll from the cyclone is likely to surpass 1000. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands have been flooded out of their homes.
"A critical thing we've been doing is helping with survey flights, so people can actually see where the disaster affected people, where the needs are, and then projects and relief can be planned," said John Woodberry, the global disaster response manager at MAF.
MAF has a permanent operation in Mozambique with two aircraft. They are working with the country's national institute for disaster management and non-government organizations to coordinate rescue and relief efforts.
MAF pilot and disaster response team member Rick Emenaker (in photo) reported on what he saw on the survey flight. “It was a heartbreaking flight as we flew over many miles of flooded land in the Buzi River basin. We saw many people stranded on rooftops, surrounded by kilometers of water. A number of villages were completely covered by the floodwaters. The magnitude of this disaster is hard to comprehend, and we are glad we can be here to help. Please keep the people of Mozambique in prayer, as they struggle with this difficult situation that has no short-term end in sight,” he said.
Flight surveys reveal significant damage to a major highway between Beira and Chimoio, with entire sections washed out by floodwater. Other roadways are underwater, with bridges either damaged or gone.
“Additional flight surveys going south into the Buzi River basin show the area has deep and widespread flooding with entire buildings under water and people stranded on rooftops surrounded by water,” said MAF spokesman Brad Hoaglun.
Brad continued, “MAF’s Cessna Grand Caravan C208 will continue to be used for survey flights. The fixed-wing aircraft may also be utilized to bring in bulk supplies and fuel for distribution, as well as relief worker rotations”.