MAF Continues Congo Charity Mission Despite Relocation

 - January 11, 2019, 11:27 AM
Workers unload vital medical supplies from an MAF Cessna Caravan in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as healthcare workers attempt to curb the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. (Photo: David Petersen, Mission Aviation Fellowship)

Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a charity that uses aircraft to accomplish its errands of mercy in isolated regions, has been helping stem a deadly Ebola outbreak in the northeast part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August, and has temporarily relocated its staff from Nyankunde to Uganda due to a recent positive test for the disease at the local hospital.

The Idaho-based organization has conducted 24 missions during this latest outbreak, carrying 99 passengers and delivering nearly eight tons of vaccines and supplies. MAF will continue to conduct emergency relief flights using its Cessna Caravan and Grand Caravan from other airstrips until staff members can return to the Nyankunde base.

Due to the difficulties reaching remote villages separated by jungle terrain and conflicted territories, air travel provided by MAF is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to deliver supplies and caregivers.

While the temporary relocation of its base has caused some logistical challenges, Jon Cadd, MAF’s program manager for East DRC, said it will continue in its response to the crisis. “MAF has been responding to Ebola outbreaks for many years and has a wealth of experience in this area,” he noted. “We use strict protocols for handling patient samples that we deliver for testing, and to clean our aircraft to keep staff and passengers safe.”