Torrential rains caused flash flooding on the evening of Saturday, March 16th, 2019, in the town of Sentani. Sentani is situated near the provincial capital of Jayapura in the Indonesian province of Papua. At least 90 people were killed and many injured, with many more now homeless.
On the 19th of November 2018, we reported that we flew Dr. Justin into the village of Bevero where he treated the village chief who was sick. The villagers and the teacher were very pleased that we came, and they were happy to show it!
From time to time we receive drawings from children who are very excited about Helimission. With much effort and enthusiasm, they work on their projects. It’s a great joy for us to receive their artworks! If these children once become pilots or mechanics for Helimission?
On one Monday morning, I started from the international airport Ivato at Antananarivo, Madagascar for a short flight to pick up Sedera and his team. I was able to land directly in front of his house. After that, we continued into the rain forest.
My son Ezekiel was riding his bike and had a nasty fall. His knee and foot were ripped up pretty badly. He was tough but a little pale. My husband Matthias treated his injury, cut off the dangling skin and cleaned his wounds. But then Ezekiel’s foot started to swell and turn purple. After a few days, we thought we should get an X-ray done, just in case.
From 1976 until 2007 Helimission had a station in Kitale, Kenya. From there they flew numerous missions with the helicopter to the Turkana people in the Northwest of the country. They flew doctors and nurses into these difficult to reach areas and held many mobile bush clinics.
On September 28th, 2018, a terrible earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, set off a humanitarian disaster on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The epicenter was located not far from the capital city of Palu. Miraculously none of the Helimission employees, who are situated right in the center of the affected area, were injured. Our hangar, helicopter and all our employees’ houses were not seriously damaged, even though countless cracks in the buildings provide a constant reminder of the quake.
In January 1999, fighting in the Kosovo conflict flared up again causing a wave of 500’000 to 1’000’000 refugees. Many fled to the north of Albania where Helimission transported trailers to one of the large SOS camps. These were then built together to make an SOS medical center.
With our scheduled flight cancelled, we were able to respond to a medical evacuation request to the village of Yuarima. The village is nestled in a very steep valley only 10 minutes away by air, but on foot it’s a two day hike along steep terrain from Wamena, Papua, Indonesia.
Ten years ago I was working in Samedan, near St Moritz in Switzerland, for a helicopter company, preparing myself to work with Helimission in the future. There, I assisted with the 12-year inspection of the helicopter HB-ZHM (“Hotel Mike”), which Helimission had made available for disaster operations.