MAF is continuing to provide surge support staff to Samaritan’s Purse (SP) and Missionary Flight International (MFI) in their response to Hurricane Dorian that hit the Bahamas on September 1.

Reports say there are 70,000 people homeless in Abaco (part of the Bahamas) and the surrounding islands. There are many stateless Haitian refugees who won’t evacuate and many Bahamans are staying on the impacted islands as it is all they know and are trying to survive.

These areas will need significant resources. SP started tarp deliveries today and will sling load them by helicopter from their Abaco base to other devastated islands.

Search and rescue in Abaco and Grand Bahama islands continue, with search dogs being used for body recovery. The death toll will continue to climb as bodies are recovered and missing person reports are confirmed. There have been many people evacuated by the government and some by SP to islands that were not destroyed by the storm. There are numerous medical needs among the hurricane survivors.

John Woodberry and Brent Palmer are providing support to SP and they are working on the following:

  • In Freeport, the Emergency Field Hospital is set up and accepting patients. The 40-bed facility will have an outpatient department and emergency room, equipped to serve up to 100 patients a day. There will be an operating room—with capacity for 10 surgeries per day—and an obstetrics ward with delivery room.
  • On Abaco Island distribution of tarps occurred yesterday at Elbow Cay and organized distribution of tarps in Marsh Harbour will happen today. The distribution location will be at one of the churches. The estimated number of people needing shelter is 4,000. A base house and office space have been found in Abaco for team operations.
  • MAF surge support staff John Woodberry (flight ops support), Brent Palmer (Caravan pilot) have been supporting medical teams and shipping equipment to get the hospital set up and assisting teams doing emergency relief projects on Abaco and surrounding islands.
  • God has blessed our response and put may things in place and provided key contacts and friends. We found out the other day that all our aviation fuel is being provided for free. God is good.

John Gorenflo and Vaughan Woodward arrived Thursday night in Fort Pierce, Florida to assist MFI relief efforts.

  • On Friday, September 6, John and Vaughan worked with Bahama CAA to secure flight permission and operating approvals for the MFI and partner aircraft to conduct relief flights into the Bahamas. They also worked to identify on-ground partners to receive the aid goods to be delivered and completed the paperwork for import duty exemptions.
  • On Saturday, John Gorenflo accompanied an MFI DC3 to West End, Grand Bahamas, to deliver 8,000 lbs. of relief supplies to isolated communities.
  • Vaughan Woodward worked from Fort Pierce, Florida, to arrange flight clearances, ground receipt of goods and forward loading.
  • Three flights were conducted, one to West End and two into Freeport, Grand Bahamas, with 24,000 lbs. of aid and relief supplies delivered (water, food and personal hygiene supplies) for the Salvation Army.
  • On Sunday, Vaughan and John helped ready two flights of DC3 aircraft and one Priority Air C208 aircraft for Monday fights.
  • Monday flights include three DC3 flights to Freeport delivering goods to the Salvation Army for distribution and one C208 flight to Freeport and one to Scotland Cay off the island of Abaco.
  • Vaughan will also travel to Freeport on Monday to arrange onward clearances for the Priority C208 into the Abaco Islands. It is hoped that the C208 will fly directly to the Abaco Island Cays in the coming days with necessary aid and relief goods.
  • John will fly as a loadie on the DC3 runs to Freeport and will assist in oversight of the aircraft reloading in Fort Pierce.
  • It is hoped to move around 27,000 lbs. of aid goods as well as passenger returns to Florida from both Freeport and Scotland Cay.
  • John is also working on flight scheduling for the coming week to assist in the ramp-up of flight activity for MFI.

Please pray for our MAF team and other relief workers. Also pray for good health among the workers and impacted people in the Bahamas. There are fears that diarrhea and waterborne diseases due to unsafe drinking water could appear, but so far, no cases of cholera have been reported.

Story by MAF with photos by John Woodberry & Brent Palmer