Mission Aviation Fellowship
MAF is helping aid agencies bring vital food and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of people in Congo displaced by weeks of fighting between government and rebel forces. These have crammed into refugee camps or remain scattered across Congo’s northern region, after a number of raids on their villages by members of the guerrilla group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The LRA has terrorised large parts of Congo, Uganda and Sudan for more than two decades, and is accused of murder, abduction, mutilation, the sexual enslavement of women and children, and recruiting children to be used as soldiers in its guerrilla campaigns.
MAF manager, Ron Wismer, said the organisation was braced to help aid efforts for fleeing refugees in the coming weeks. The aid effort, which is supporting primarily international humanitarian group Medair, has hit upon a number of obstacles.
‘Because of the remote location and difficulty getting supplies in, it’s very expensive to operate in the northeast part of the country. The high price of aviation gasoline adds to the cost of MAF relief efforts’, Wismer noted.
He added that MAF was managing so far on its current staff levels but would need to look for more staff if requests came in to support refugees.
Gloria Fernandez, head of mission for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said many humanitarian organisations had been forced to temporarily suspend operations and abandon their work stations while the conflict continues.