NAMPULA, Mozambique, March 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), operating as Ambassador Aviation in Mozambique, is responding to a humanitarian crisis caused by Cyclone Idai, which struck Mozambique on March 14. The aviation non-profit organization has been conducting assessment flights and working with Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and other non-government organizations (NGOs) in coordinating rescue and relief efforts.

Flight surveys reveal significant damage to the EN6 roadway, a major highway between Beira and Chimoio, with entire sections washed out by flood water, and other roadways under water and bridges 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. 

MAF pilot and disaster response team member Rick Emenaker reported on what he saw on the survey flight.

“It was a heartbreaking flight today 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.  It was difficult to comprehend and think about that probably many have perished.  A number of villages were completely buried in the floodwaters.  The magnitude of this disaster is hard to comprehend, and we are glad we can be here to help,” said Emenaker.

Information from the aerial surveys is shared with INGC and other NGOs to coordinate relief efforts. Mercy Air, a helicopter operation, is coordinating with MAF and distributing boxes of high-energy biscuits in areas completely cut off by flooding.  The food is being provided by the World Food Program (WFP).

Recent flights have provided tents, hygiene kits, family kits, and other items from Chimoio to Beira for use at Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps. MAF flew 111 family kits, (that include shelter items), and additional food in the Cessna 208.

Additionally, working in cooperation with Mercy Air to conduct food delivery flights using the helicopter, 17 food drops were performed for various locations north of the impassable N6 road, as well as another drop of 40 boxes of high-energy biscuits to the village of Grudja. The helicopter also flew a sling load of seven tents and buckets to the camp at Buzi and returned with a patient, a pregnant woman needing an emergency C-section.

MAF’s Cessna Grand Caravan (C208) will continue to be used for survey flights as INGC and WFP ask for additional information. The fixed-wing aircraft may also be utilized as an air bridge to bring in bulk supplies and fuel for distribution, as well as relief worker rotations.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at: 

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/e3912026-77d0-4b1d-9665-f100c7e38466

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/6949d461-201a-4abf-ab8a-a6706e012b93