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There is currently no timescale on when we might be able to continue our in-country efforts with our new programme in Liberia because of the Ebola outbreak.
We have deferred placing staff in Liberia and our focus is on making necessary planning arrangements outside the country.
The government offices are closed as the authorities deal with the crisis, which has halted the processing of necessary permissions paperwork to allow us to operate within the country. Two new MAF staff houses at the SIM/ELWA compound on the outskirts of Monrovia are almost completed and we are also working with local contacts to clear two containers from the Netherlands, of furniture for the houses plus staff personal effects.
The Cessna Caravan, which will be borrowed temporarily from MAF’s work in East Africa, is being repainted in South Africa and next month will be flown to Uganda for final preparation and re-registration.
Emil Kundig will be MAF’s Programme Manager in Liberia. He had been due to arrive there with wife Margrit this month, however, they are travelling to Uganda this week for the time being to continue essential preparations.
Emil said: “We do wish we could be setting up camp in Liberia. The visit to Uganda is not unexpected as I need to convert my licences to the new aircraft. We are part of God’s plan nevertheless and we trust Him for His planning and working out. Our hearts and prayers go to the people in Liberia and West Africa where our hopes are that soon things will be under control.”
We are continuing to closely monitor the changing situation with our ministry partners and have been invited to be a part of regular inter-agency meetings.
We have been working with the Department for International Development (DFID), the World Health Organisation and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office together with other health specialists and non-governmental organisations and have subsequently developed a management plan to govern MAF’s work in Africa in respect of the Ebola virus.
It is designed to mitigate the risks and ensure good preparation if there is a confirmed case in an area where we are based. This includes organising supplies of personal protective equipment and operational procedures in affected zones.
The new policies have been drawn up in conjunction with MAF’s Disaster Response Manager, John Woodberry.
There have been confirmed cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where MAF-US has a programme.
MAF has other Africa operations in Uganda, Chad, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mali, South Africa, Lesotho and Angola.
We are treating the situation seriously and approaching it with a calm and organised response.
We ask for your prayers for the ongoing situation in Africa. We pray against fear and panic, we pray that the church may remain strong and be a true witness. And we seek God’s wisdom and direction.