Diaspora

Agape Flights transports injured earthquake victims after Haiti disaster relief delivery – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

VENICE – Agape Flights pilot Jeff Yannucciello had arrived at Les Cayes Airport with earthquake relief supplies Sunday morning and encountered injured people pleading for him and other pilots to take them to Port-Au-Prince for medical care.
As he looked at a young girl, Abigail, who reminded him of his own 6-year-old daughter, Yannucciello could not refuse – even though his Embraer 110 aircraft is not equipped for passenger transport – he flew about a half dozen people from Les Cayes to Port-Au-Prince Sunday, where they were met by waiting ambulances.
How to help:Haiti is reeling from a devastating earthquake, COVID-19 pandemic and political instability
At first Agape Flights, the nonprofit Christian aviation ministry based at Venice Municipal Airport, did not publicize the humanitarian act, even though it was reported by the Associated Press and on national television newscasts.
Yannucciello did not mention it in a Monday afternoon Zoom interview with local media, though he did mention he saw people at the airport pleading for rides.
Agape Flights spokeswoman Abby Duncan confirmed the act Tuesday, which is also documented by a series of photos the nonprofit posts for media.
The photos were released on the approval of Agape Flights CEO Allen Speer.
Yannucciello was readying the plane for another relief flight Tuesday, and could not be reached for further comment.
The nonprofit needs relief donations, especially gloves, gauze, bandages, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and other medical supplies, Duncan said. 
“We keep relief supplies on hand so we can respond right away,” Duncan said. 
Supplies on a scheduled flight for the teams of missionary affiliates – who are stationed in Haiti, operating everything from hospitals, medical clinics and clean water initiatives to churches, schools and orphanages – were offloaded and replaced with tarps, tents, food, solar lights, an emergency generator for a hospital and medical supplies. 
“We listened to our missionaries on what they needed the utmost and got that there yesterday,” Duncan said. “These are people working in the communities throughout the year. 
Two of those missionaries spoke with reporters Monday afternoon on a Zoom call arranged by Agape Flights.
“We are incredibly grateful for Agape and Samaritan’s Purse and any of the other organizations who are helping out, doing medical evacuations of bringing in supplies, the families in this area are in desperate need for them,” said “Sarah Charles, executive director of Jeremie Christian Mission, which is about 40 miles northwest of Les Cayes, in the southwestern peninsula of the country. 
Charles and her husband Kivins said that people are sleeping outside, in fear of possible aftershock damage. 
An equal concern is the impact of rain from Tropical Depression Grace, which was forecast to move directly over the area Monday night, and a fear that the additional rains may trigger mudslides. 
Tents for shelter are a big need, as is clean water Charles said. 
As bad as things have been in Les Cayes, the missionaries fear that smaller communities will fall through the cracks because there are no organizations there every day. 
Orthopedic supplies and specialists to help set broken bones are also needed. 
“There’s a massive amount of people suffering from broken limbs because there’s nobody to see them,” Charles said. “There’s nobody specialized to see them and be able to place those and set those bones because people can begin healing.” 
Jeff Yannucciello a pilot with Agape Flights who delivered earthquake relief supplies Sunday morning, said that at Les Cayes Airport there was an influx of people in need of evacuation for treatment. 
Yannucciello said the next delivery of relief supplies will occur as soon as the weather allows. Tropical Depression Grace is the latest system to affect the area.
Donations are always needed for Agape Flights mission work, though there is a special list for Haiti earthquake relief that is on the nonprofit’s website at agapeflights.com
To go directly to the Haiti relief page, visit: bit.ly/3m8eeAO
In addition to the medical supplies, there is a need for ready-to-eat food and powdered protein supplements and sports drinks like Gatorade – water and other liquids are too heavy to transport – as well as tents, flashlights and batteries. 
Cash donations are encouraged, both because missionaries can buy some supplies in Haiti and Agape Flights’ fuel costs, as well as landing fees. 
Besides local donors, national nonprofits help Agape, too. 
Monday morning, a tractor-trailer of relief supplies arrived from God’s Pit Crew, a Danville, Virginia-based crisis response team. 
• Agape Flights is currently accepting donations for ongoing 2021 Haiti earthquake relief at its headquarters, 100 Airport Ave., E, Venice. Drop offs are accepted between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
• For a list of needed supplies, visit bit.ly/3m8eeAO 
Earle Kimel primarily covers south Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be reached at earle.kimel@heraldtribune.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.

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