On 14AUG21, an earthquake to the magnitude of 7.2 struck Haiti, causing devastation yet again to Caribbean tropical island that had suffered more than 250,000 deaths in the previous quake just 11 years prior. The death toll has risen to over 2,200 this time around, and the situation in the country, already precarious before the latest natural disaster, has descended into chaos with reports of gangs intercepting aid, medical staff being kidnapped, and desperate Haitians looting food trucks.
On 14AUG21, an earthquake to the magnitude of 7.2 struck Haiti, causing devastation yet again to Caribbean tropical island that had suffered more than 250,000 deaths in the previous quake just 11
years prior. The death toll has risen to over 2,200 this time around, and the situation in the country, already precarious before the latest natural disaster, has descended into chaos with
reports of gangs intercepting aid, medical staff being kidnapped, and desperate Haitians looting food trucks.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, needs all the help it can get, and many governments have been quick to send in relief supplies over the past few weeks, either via military manoeuvres, or on board commercial airlines such as IAG Cargo, which recently (24AUG21) flew 20 tons of aid in the form of shelter kits and solar powered lanterns for up to 1,300 families on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
Miles for medical volunteers
Just days after the earthquake, American Airlines, which has been serving Haiti for 50 years with daily flights to Port-au-Prince from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida in peak travel seasons, announced it was donating 1 million AAdvantage miles to the veteran-led global disaster response organization, Team Rubicon, to support in transporting first responders and medical professionals volunteering to assist in Haiti. Flying volunteers to disaster areas is often a huge cost-factor for non-profit aid associations. “American Airlines’ commitment of 1 million miles following the Haiti earthquake will allow us to rapidly deploy our medical teams to meet the areas of greatest need,” William Porter, Deputy Director of Operational Support at Team Rubicon, stated.
8 million USD of aid
Transporting the medical staff is the one side of the coin. For them to be able to treat those wounded in the deadly earthquake, medical supplies are required. The nonprofit humanitarian organization, Direct Relief collaborated with its transport partner of 28 years, FedEx, to deliver 79 tons of critical medical supplies via a dedicated charter flight from Memphis to Port-au-Prince on 26AUG21. Amongst them: prescription medications, IV solutions, emergency medical backpacks, to name just a few items. Since Direct Relief has teams on the ground at Port-au-Prince, these supplies have a good chance of getting to where they are required. “For the people of Haiti and Direct Relief’s many tremendously dedicated Haitian partner organizations that serve them tirelessly, the action today by FedEx provides a hugely important practical boost of scaled-up response to urgent health needs and also is just a powerful signal of the depth of concern that exists for their welfare, which means so much in itself,” Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief president and CEO, stated. “We are so deeply grateful for the leadership and entire team at FedEx whose actions have catalyzed a vastly more expansive response than would otherwise be possible during this time of compounded crises.”
Richard W. Smith, Regional President of The Americas and Executive Vice President, Global Support for FedEx Express, whose company runs a “Delivering for Good” initiative, helping organizations in times of disaster, pointed out: “We see it as our moral obligation to jump in and use our network to help. Our hearts go out to those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti.”
Volga-Dnepr Group is the latest to help out
Last week, the Volga-Dnepr Group, carried out two charter flights deploying and An-124-100 and an Il-76TD-90VD from Madrid and Liege Airports, to carry more than 110 tons of essential cargo to Port-au-Prince. On board were tents, water purifiers, mobile kitchens, and general cargo destined to support the Haitian population in overcoming the current difficulties. The cargo stemmed from several United Nations agencies, national and International Red Crosses, and a number of International Non-Governmental Organizations supported by various European Governments. Pauli Immonen, Deputy Director Healthcare, Humanitarian and Emergency at Volga-Dnepr, highlighted: “In times of emergency, there is no time to waste - this is the rule of thumb we follow when we get humanitarian requests. Thanks to aligned and long-standing relations with freight forwarders, brokers, NGOs, humanitarian agencies, airport authorities and other stakeholders we guarantee a fast and seamless response and organize life-saving air transport to almost any region or country of the world”.
More flights are planned as Haiti will require aid for some time yet.
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