Nampa pilot hopes to aid typhoon victims in Philippines

Credit: Mission Aviation Fellowship

Nampa Pilot John Woodbury works to deliver relief efforts with Mission Aviation Fellowship.

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 6:04 PM

Palawan, Philippines

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NAMPA -- The pilots and staff working with Nampa's Mission Aviation Fellowship could begin moving relief supplies into the Philippines as early as Friday morning.

The response comes after Typhoon Haiyan left more than 2,000 dead as it hit the island nation last week.

Thousands more have been left homeless and injured by the record-breaking storm, which packed winds over 180 miles-per-hour, and destroyed countless homes, buildings, and blocked many airport runways.

NAMPA PILOT WANTS TO HELP

Nampa pilot John Woodbury is among those hoping to bring relief supplies into the devastated country. Woodbury is the Disaster Response Manager for Mission Aviation Fellowship.

MAF Regional Director Rick Dickson says now that his colleague has flown into the Philippines, he's hoping to obtain permission for other pilots to join him.

Dickson says their plan is to focus the organization's efforts on a heavily-damaged area in the eastern Philippines. He says preliminary information indicates the Spratly island chain, and its provincial capital of Palawan, has been overlooked by foreign relief workers thus far.

"So they're looking at moving a couple of airplanes and maybe a helicopter in that area, because the report is there's 70 to 80 percent destruction in that group of Islands," Dickson told KTVB.

That's where the folks at MAF headquarters in Nampa come in.

Here, workers are busy repairing the aircraft used to fly relief supplies to locations worldwide. In total, the organization has 136 aircraft situated in 33 countries ready to support the organization's mission.

"We actually have 22 airplanes and over 100 staff in Indonesia -- the country just south of the Philippines -- that are ready to respond," Dickson told KTVB. "We wouldn't send 22, but one or two, whatever is needed. We can move them up on a moment's notice."

MAF: WATER WILL BE CRITICAL

Dickson says the most critical supply likely to be airlifted into the Philippines will be equipment to purify water.

"That's going to be a critical need in the Philippines, clean water, clean drinking water, because waterborne diseases are going to start taking hold," he said.

The organization has a convincing track record of delivering similar relief supplies to victims of major disasters.

MAF has worked in the past to help combat malaria and Ebola outbreaks in the Congo, where pilots have delivered supplies -- even doctors to small villages.

The organization also operated more than 1,000 relief flights to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

They'll be ready to deliver similar care to the typhoon victims in the Philippines, but only when permission is granted by that country's government.

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