When disasters strike, it can be hard to personally grasp the devastation that the people directly affected experience.
With homes gone, loved ones lost or missing, their lives are disrupted and often changed forever. As we read the news and hear the numbers from a distance, it can be hard to fully relate to what they are going through.
When Hurricane Dorian devastated islands in the Bahamas this September, I heard the news about this horrible storm and the destruction it had left in its wake. I was thankful that our Disaster Response Team had been deployed to help the relief efforts with logistics support and supply distribution.
A few days later, when a woman contacted us through our Facebook page, the impact of the hurricane suddenly became very tangible as I corresponded with her.
She lives in Canada, but her family in the Bahamas had been stranded by the storm. The last note she had received from her niece, who also has a baby to care for, told her that they were running out of food and water and, with a dying cell phone battery and unreliable signal, they needed to find a way to evacuate the area.
She shared screenshots of the texts from her niece with me. She shared photos of her relatives. Suddenly, the impact of this natural disaster had a very real human face. It became very personal.
I knew I needed to connect her with tangible help on the ground, so I got in touch with our team in the area. Minutes later Vaughan Woodward, MAF’s Hurricane Dorian Disaster Response Manager, responded. When I asked who I should put this woman in contact with, Vaughan’s reply was “Me.”
It really hit home that this is what our Disaster Response Team is there for. They deploy at a moment’s notice and rush into areas that most are trying to leave. They work to ensure that help reaches those that need it most, when the conditions are the most difficult.
This is why I love working at MAF – every day our staff are reaching out to those in desperate need around the world. Oftentimes we are the link that connects them to the necessities they need for life and hope that would otherwise be out of reach.
I can understand why the sound of the airplane means hope and life to the many isolated communities around the world that MAF serves. As you read this edition of Flying for Life, I hope that you will look at the faces of the people in the stories and photographs, and know that you are also a part of their story. Your generous support makes our work to bring them hope and help possible. Thank you!
PS: In her last update, this woman shared that her niece and baby were able to take a boat to Nassau, but her siblings were still missing and hadn’t been heard from in days. Please join me in praying for them, and all the other people still searching for their loved ones and trying to recover from this terrible disaster.