GUELPH, Ontario, January 6, 2011 – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has commended Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) for its critical role in relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti since the devastating earthquake of January, 2010. MAF operations in Haiti have been pushed to full capacity as a result of the earthquake and the many difficulties Haitians have faced in the past 12 months.
“By organizing hundreds of relief flights and delivering thousands of pounds of supplies, you’ve had a critical impact on Haiti’s recovery,” Clinton wrote to MAF in an unsolicited letter. Clinton serves as a United Nations special envoy to Haiti.
MAF has worked in Haiti since 1986 and currently operates four aircraft providing a busy schedule of flights from the capital Port-au-Prince to 16 interior airstrips. These flights enable the work of more than 60 relief and development agencies in Haiti.
Since last fall, MAF pilots have been busy flying IV solution to areas affected by the cholera epidemic, which to date has killed an estimated 3,300 people and hospitalized more than 100,000.
Canadian MAF pilot Jason Krul, 25, recently flew a medical team and 900 pounds of IV solution to Port-de-Paix on the northern coast for a hospital running short of supplies. Upon landing, he then drove the medical team and the supplies from the airstrip to the hospital, where more than 100 cholera patients were being treated, most of them children under age 12.
Because their veins had collapsed due to severe dehydration, these patients could not receive traditional IVs. The doctors taught hospital staff how to administer IVs through the bone marrow, a painful but life-saving treatment. With this procedure, the hospital has been able to significantly reduce the local death rate from cholera.
Jason, his wife Wilhelmina and their son Jayden have lived in Haiti since 2008. They were in their home in Port-au-Prince but were not injured when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks destroyed much of the capital city on January 12, 2010. As he left his home to see how he could help others, Jason saw many injured people who had no doctors or nurses to help them. In response, he used the paramedic training he’d received as a volunteer firefighter in Canada and proceeded to stitch up peoples’ gaping wounds and to set their broken bones.
Founded in 1945, MAF (www.mafc.org) is a Christian ministry organization that transports missionaries, medical personnel and supplies in 35 countries for more than 1,000 mission and relief agencies. About 50 Canadian pilots, aircraft mechanics and school teachers, with their families, serve through MAF in many of these countries. MAF also provides distance learning services and telecommunication services such as satellite internet access, high-frequency radio, electronic mail and other wireless systems.