Family members of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilots and mechanics are returning to their homes in Haiti. The nine family members were evacuated February 14 as violence in the country escalated.
Three members of MAF, joined by two pilot/mechanics from the Disaster Response team from MAF headquarters in Nampa, Idaho, and a skeleton local crew remained at the Port-au-Prince airport during the unrest. The team continued to fly stranded missionaries, aid workers, and others from outlying areas to the airport in Port-au-Prince. Since February 11, MAF had 38 flights that evacuated 136 people, while also providing medical and other flight services.
“We became concerned as the violence continued, and as a precaution we had our MAF expat staff families evacuate the country,” said David Holsten, president and CEO of Mission Aviation Fellowship. “Our partners in mission work have also been evacuating their people as local travel had become too precarious. While we believe it is safe for family members to return, we will continue to keep a close watch on the situation in Haiti.”
David Carwell, program manager for MAF in Haiti, said, “We ask for prayer for all the people in Haiti. Daily life has been severely interrupted, including the supply chain for goods that people rely on daily. Without refrigeration and other amenities that we take for granted in the U.S., people’s lives in Haiti are greatly impacted. The violence has made it very difficult for stores to open and for people to even attend church.”
Mission Aviation Fellowship has operated in Haiti since 1986. The Christian ministry organization maintains a permanent base in Port-au-Prince with four airplanes capable of taking off and landing at short, rugged airstrips. With the help of a mission group, MAF opened a new airstrip at La Source on the island of La Gonave in January.