VENICE — Bottlenecks at Haiti’s major airport blocked the flow of aid from one of southwest Florida’s leading missionary aid organizations Thursday.
Agape Flights, based in Venice, sent three planes containing food, supplies and a total of nine doctors, according to interim director Dick Armstrong.
After circling the Port-au-Prince airport, all three were diverted to the Dominican Republic. Armstrong said a gas shortage clogged traffic at the Port-au-Prince airport, preventing planes on the ground from clearing out.
“We’re frustrated right now,” Armstrong said. “We’ve got people and supplies, but they’re not where they’re supposed to be. We’re looking for whatever we can do to get down what we’ve got to get down.”
Agape Flights is a nonprofit Christian ministry serving 380 missionary families in Haiti, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. It makes weekly flights delivering mail, critical supplies, manpower resources and equipment.
About 130 of the missionary families are in Haiti. Agape has confirmed communication with 69 of those families.
Armstrong said in one area where 26 Agape-supported missionaries work, they reported having no clean water, no food, no shelter and medical supplies that were crushed in the earthquake.
“With our supplies stuck in the Dominican Republic, I’m not sure things have changed much,” he said.
Armstrong said there are more supplies ready to send to Haiti. One volunteer purchased a planeload of supplies and offered to pay for pilots. Another 20,000 pounds of C-rations are waiting as well.