MAF Airborne Relief On The Scene In Indonesia
MAF is on site in Medan on the island of Sumatra responding to
the overwhelming disaster. Hardest hit by the earthquake and
tsunami, most of the northern province of Aceh has been leveled.
Most bridges and roads have been obliterated; communications are
wiped out in the affected area.
Having served the people of Indonesia since 1954, MAF is a
well-respected organization, both by the locals, NGOs, and the
Indonesian government. MAF is well known for having conducted and
coordinated effective relief efforts resulting from earthquakes and
famines, several of them in Indonesia. Already, several NGOs and
government agencies have requested that MAF provide the lead in
coordinating multi-agency efforts, both to meet pressing needs as
well as help in the rebuilding efforts expected to take several
At the request of the Indonesia Air Force, MAF has already
positioned aircraft in Sibolga where more than 40 tons of supplies
await distribution to survivors. This site is currently the primary
MAF staging center of relief aid for the province of Aceh. From
Sibolga and a second airstrip in Meulaboh, MAF will serve the
islands of Nias and Simuelve off the west coast of Sumatra. MAF
pilots, all of whom speak Indonesian, are presently assessing the
Meulaboh airstrip’s viability.
The MAF logistics and coordination efforts are now taking place
from a central coordinating center in Medan on Sumatra’s
northeast coast. With ground transportation severely hampered and
relief tonnage increasing by the hour, the small MAF fixed-wing
aircraft are ideal for targeted localized distribution where
supplies are most needed.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that the
relief operation would require a massive effort. "We are going to
need major logistical support: airplanes, helicopters, and air
controllers to assist us move the produce and goods as quickly as
possible so that we don't have bottlenecks." During a January 2
interview on CNN, Secretary of State Colin Powell added, "The
problem right now is getting supplies to large airports and
seaports and then retail distribution.... What those nations
need...(are) small fixed-wing airplanes that can get out to those
Already operating from 11 bases in Papua and Kalimantan and with
an administrative office in Jakarta, MAF is already formulating
plans to redeploy some of its pilots and support personnel to
MAF is assisting in the overall coordination of relief efforts
and working to install a communications network using satellites.
MAF is appealing to contributors everywhere to provide funding for
this unprecedented relief effort.