Missionary Flights International continues work in Haiti after earthquake – TCPalm

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Missionary Flights International, the decades-old Christian organization operating out of Fort Pierce, is continuing its work in Haiti following a devastating earthquake in the Carribean nation on Saturday.
Missionary Flights spokesperson JJ Lain said Monday there was “mass chaos” in Haiti after the earthquake, the epicenter of which was in the southwest part of the country, and the organization’s president Joe Karabensh began getting calls.
“He obviously, at that moment, started looking and responding the best that he could … contacting people trying to get all the stories straight, and how it is that Missionary Flights could respond,” Lain said.
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Lain said the organization, which typically flies to Haiti on Tuesdays and Thursdays, had canceled the Thursday, Aug. 12, flight because of the position of what would become Tropical Storm Fred. 
He said after the earthquake, which has been reported as causing nearly 1,300 deaths and injuring thousands more, they decided to take cargo on Sunday that had been scheduled to be taken to Port-au-Prince, the capital.
The organization flies two twin-engine turboprop DC-3s. 
Lain said the planes can take 6,500 pounds comfortably, while others going to Port-au-Prince can take three or four times that amount.
“Once those planes land in Port-au-Prince, now it’s up to organizations or up to vehicles taking those items out to the area that they’re needed,” Lain said.  
Lain said they began flying as an air bridge between Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes to the west.
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“Now we need to kind of resume and get back and carry and do what we need to do for the missions that we are usually serving,” Lain said. 
He said some people with medical needs were taken to Port-au-Prince where they waited two hours for ambulances to take them to the hospital.
“A lot less time than they would have had to wait if it was an ambulance ride from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince,” he said. 
Lain said relief supplies have been arriving, noting 50,000 pounds of goods, including food and tents, from an organization they partner with called Samaritan’s Purse.
Two flights to Haiti are scheduled Wednesday.
Will Greenlee is a breaking news reporter for TCPalm. Follow Will on Twitter @OffTheBeatTweet or reach him by phone at 772-692-8936. E-mail him at will.greenlee@tcpalm.com
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