MAF deploys a Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive (GATR) communication system to the island of St. Maarten in thew wake of Hurricane Irma.

Story and Photos by Elliott Stoddard.


On Friday the MAF team in Haiti completed an aerial survey over the northern part of the country, which was hardest hit by Hurricane Irma.

One of the MAF Pilots on scene shared that ‘though some places saw flooding, it was localized and the waters have quickly receded. All roads appeared to be open to traffic and houses have their roofs intact.

‘We praise the Lord that this time around, no major response is necessary in Haiti,’ he added.

Although MAF will not be launching a major disaster response effort in Haiti, we have deployed a Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive (GATR) communication system to the island of St. Maarten to assist a partner organisation that operates a community radio service.

The GATR, which looks like a giant beach ball is an inflatable satellite internet terminal that enabled internet communications for relief efforts until infrastructure can be rebuilt.

MAF carried out a survey of Hurricane affected areas of Haiti on Friday 8th September.

One of the MAF Pilots on scene shared, ‘I was part of the assessment flight following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and I was grateful to see the stark contrast between the damage from the two storms. Though some places saw flooding, it was localized and the waters have quickly receded. All roads appeared to be open to traffic and houses have their roofs intact. The seas along the northern coast were still violent from Cap Haitian westward, but to the east, had calmed. It is an honour to be part of MAF and to provide the first look at where help may be needed. We praise the Lord that this time around, no major response is necessary in Haiti.’

The GATR allowed aid workers working around Dame Marie, Haiti to contact family and Colleagues after Hurricane Matthew.

John Gorenflo, from MAF’s disaster response team explained what the GATR does: ‘The GATR is an inflatable satellite internet terminal. Looks like a giant beachball but inside is a parabolic reflector that can be accurately pointed to a satellite 35786 km (22236 miles) away in geostationary orbit… so far away that as the satellite is falling to earth is looks like it is always in the same place in our sky. The GATR sends and receives internet from the satellite and then I create a wifi hotspot/network with that internet and help in communications for relief efforts.’