On 8 November Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines with sustained windspeed estimated to be close to 320 km/hr (200 mph) and gusts of up to 370 km/hr (230 mph). The death and destruction it caused have been widely reported, and while it will probably be months before the final totals are known, it is believed that at least 650,000 people have been left homeless – many with limited or no food and water – and that many more than that will need help.
The air freight and logistics industry is already playing a major role, not just in delivering urgently needed supplies and personnel from airport to airport, but also working with hundreds of governments, businesses and charitable groups to coordinate their efforts in such a way that help is actually delivered to where it is needed.
A monumental task, given that the storm effectively destroyed the region’s transportation infrastructure.
Many companies in our industry have already contributed to the relief effort. As you can see in the photo, an Emirates 777F was one of the first big freighters to bring in supplies (shown here after landing in Cebu on a UK-funded mission), UPS recently announced that it had pledged US$1 million in support of the relief effort, and you can read about Chapman Freeborn’s contributions in Gwen Goh’s blog post here on cargofacts.net yesterday.
But these are hardly the only members of our community to pitch in. We cannot list everyone, but we do want to point out that much of the air freight, express, and logistics industries’ contributions are being coordinated by Airlink, the industry-backed international non-profit organization set up several years ago to connect airlines with humanitarian initiatives. Airlink now has more than twenty airlines and fifty NGO’s in its network, and has been involved in the Philippines relief effort from the beginning. More information is available on the Airlink website.