As regular readers of this website know, Cargo Facts has for some time, been a supporter of Airlink, the rapid-response humanitarian relief organization that links commercial and charter airlines within its network, to pre-qualified nonprofits; essentially the freight forwarder of choice for the non-profit industry. Since the organization’s inception in 2010, Airlink has overseen the transport of more than 2,500 tonnes of cargo, and 3,700 passengers across the globe with the help of its generous partners—combined efforts which have saved Airlink’s pre-qualified nonprofits an estimated $5,000,000 in logistics costs.
This year, there is no shortage of global disasters requiring exceptional airfreight services, and we include a summary below, but if you are interested in learning more about the degree to which demands for Airlink’s ongoing support missions are being met, and opportunities for improvement, join us at Cargo Facts Asia 2016, where Steven Smith, Airlink’s Executive Director, will give a special presentation. Cargo Facts Asia will take place in Hong Kong, 19 – 20 April. To register, or for more information, go to www.cargofactsasia.com.
And now for a quick overview of Airlink’s current missions in progress:
Fiji – Cyclone Winston
Cyclone Winston, one of the strongest storms on record in the South Pacific, hit Fiji in late February, downing trees and power lines, destroying buildings, and causing mudslides and road closures across the islands. The death toll stands at 42, with 67,000 homeless, and more than 350,000 people left without access to clean water, sanitation and basic food and medical supplies. Airlink has partnered with All Hands to support the organization’s efforts to restore latrines, and distribute WASH-based education materials to reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases such as typhoid.
Greece- Syrian refugee crisis
As the crisis enters its second year, more than 150,000 refugees have made the journey from Greece, to neighboring states. To date Airlink has worked with its partners to send nearly 4 tonnes of aid materials from International Medical Corps, and 10 aid workers from Disaster Tech Lab to assist with refugee relief activities.
Last week, torrential downpours caused widespread flooding in the US state of Louisiana. Airlink responded by finding lift for two NECHAMA staff members. With more than 11,000 homes damaged, local government and relief agencies expect the demand for aid to persist.
Latin America & the Caribbean- Zika Virus
Mid-last year, Latin American and Caribbean countries began to see a rise in the number of mosquito-borne Zika virus cases. While typically the disease is not considered dangerous in most adults, the Zika virus has been linked with infant microcephaly. Airlink is currently assisting its nonprofit partners with the transportation of aid materials, to assist in the management of this outbreak.
In addition to Airlink’s current missions in progress, it is also monitoring the following crises.
Ethiopia- Food Security Crisis
Ethiopia continues to suffer from the worst drought the country has seen in 50 years. More than 10.2 million people are in need of food assistance – an increase of more than 7 million people since January 2015 – due to El Niño conditions. The El Niño is expected to last at least until May, which is significantly impacting the harvest season and exacerbating concerns over food security as Ethiopia heads into the lean season.
UN OCHA reports that a well-coordinated response is underway. The scale of this growing crisis continues to outpace the aid available in the region despite local and international assistance. Transportation and WASH infrastructure continue to be barriers to relief.
Heavy rain continues to affect several areas of Pakistan. At least 80 people are dead, 102 were injured, and 258 homes have been damaged inFATA, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab as well as in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, as of March 21. Rescue operations are underway for those who are stranded in the northwest part of the country.
Syria- Civil War
The Syrian Conflict continues into its sixth year this month. The cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia began on February 27, and has drastically reduced the death toll over the past month despite various small violations of the agreement. Lack of humanitarian access remains a major issue.
As of February, 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid; 12.1 million people do not have access to clean water, 2.4 million people are in need of shelter, and 11.5 million are in need of healthcare, with just 43% of healthcare facilities operational at this time. Airlink is not involved in delivery of direct aid to Syria at this time due to humanitarian access issues.
Yemen- Civil War
Ongoing conflict is devastating the Yemeni population – an estimated 82% (21.2M people) require humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs. Food insecurity and lack of access to clean water, hygiene supplies, and healthcare remain constant struggles. Over the last year, an estimated 2.4 million people have been displaced, 50% of whom originate from the most conflict-affected areas of Yemen.
Access to Sana’a and Aden airports remains a challenging logistical hurdle; Airlink is not currently involved in direct delivery of aid to Yemen due to humanitarian access issues.
To lend your support, either in the form of a direct monetary donation or a donation of frequent flyer miles, visit the Airlink website.