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Hurricane Matthew

November 7, 2016

On Monday, November 7th, Airlink, All Hands Volunteers, Hope for Haiti and Bell Helicopter delivered 16,821 pounds of food to unserved areas in the southern peninsula of Haiti. The ops team on the ground has created an efficient delivery system that involves   quick refueling of helicopters while they are being reloaded with boxes of food, and the team is seeing dramatic results. Through coordinated operations, the team is delivering an average of 16,750 lbs of food per day to remote areas.

November 2, 2016

As part of its expanded end-to-end air transportation solution to Hurricane Matthew, Airlink is sent its second, large charter flight - packed with medical supplies - to Haiti on November 1, 2016. The flight was operated by Airlink partner Western Global Airlines and aid will be used to combat an increasingly dire public health epidemic in underserved areas where many people have yet to receive any international aid. To help deliver some of these resources the “last mile” from Port-au-Prince (PAP) airport to hard-to-reach locations in Les Cayes, Les Anglais, La Gonave, and other areas, Airlink will work with two helicopters and flight crews provided by Bell Helicopter. The aid will be distributed by members of Airlink’s network of nonprofit partners, including Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), AmericaresMAP InternationalMedSharePartners In Health and Team Rubicon UK

The charter flight with Western Global Airlines will leave Miami-Dade International Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m., with 175,000 pounds of air cargo. The MD-11 cargo plane will carry 105 pallets of supplies including food aid, cholera treatment and mitigation supplies (IV solutions, antibiotics), and general medical supplies (wound care, pharmaceuticals, surgical supplies, etc.).

Airlink is also working with Bell Helicopter which has dispatched two helicopters, including a Bell 429 and a Bell 412. Each aircraft will have a two-person crew, including pilot and maintainer. The aircraft are capable of delivering both aid and personnel to hard-to-reach locations in Haiti.

Based on demand from its non-governmental organization (NGO) partner network of nonprofit humanitarian aid groups, Airlink has established a “end-to-end  Solution,” including charter airlift and helicopter transport in support of defined requirements from the ground. Airlink’s role is to facilitate and coordinate the  transportation of aid and responders with the authorized NGOs in Haiti, Haitian Government officials, customs authorities, airlines, ground handlers, charter brokers, general aviation aircraft, rotary assets, and other logistics providers and coordination entities, such as the UN-WFP Logistics Working Group.

Find out more about this flight on our timeline

October 18, 2016

As health officials warn of a growing cholera epidemic in Haiti, Airlink sent its first charter flight today to the country, delivering more than 100,000 pounds of critical humanitarian aid valued at $1.7 million dollars. The shipment constitutes a coordinated effort between Airlink and five of its NGO partners, and will include hygiene kits, water purification equipment, pharmaceuticals, and medical and surgical supplies.

The flight includes cargo from five nonprofit partners: Americares, International Medical Corps, MAP International, Medshare, and World Hope International. Find out more about the shipment and its contents on our timeline.

October 14, 2016

As damage assessments continue to come in, USAID/OFDA reports that 60% of the roads in the south are damaged, hampering access to the hard-hit areas throughout Sud Department. Addressing the cholera epidemic remains a top priority. Aid workers are already seeing a spike in the disease; at least 235 new cases have been reported in the week following the hurricane. Organizations continue to stress the need for supplies for cholera mitigation and treatment.

Airlink continues to experience strong demand for transportation assistance from its NGO network. Together with Avianca, Copa, JetBlue, and United, 30 personnel on Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) and medical teams have been deployed from NGO partners All Hands Volunteers​, CADENA, Heart to Heart International​, and Save the Children​. Additional teams are expected to deploy as we enter the third week of response to this crisis. We are actively working with 11 disaster response organizations to send more responders and aid cargo.

Airlink has now deployed two field staff to Haiti to provide logistics and coordination assistance. Our first charter flight to Haiti will launch on October 18 and will be comprised of cargo from 5 NGO partners. This shipment will address ongoing medical needs, gaps in water, sanitation, and hygiene, and urgent needs for cholera response and mitigation.

October 10, 2016

Haiti: Matthew has now claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, a number that may still rise as officials gain access to additional hard-to-reach areas. Addressing the cholera epidemic remains a top priority. Aid workers are already seeing a spike in the disease, which is spread through contaminated water and can kill in just a few hours if it goes untreated.

Major damage to homes and other buildings is being reported. In Les Anglais, where the hurricane first made landfall, just 2% of the original 4,000 homes remain standing. As of October 8, Les Anglais is still cut off from aid due to a bridge collapse. Continued needs include medical supplies, hygiene kits ​and clean water resources, emergency shelter supplies, ​and food aid.

Port-au-Prince is open to commercial flights. However, last mile logistics remain a challenge; supplies can only be sent by helicopter, and some hard-hit areas still have not received aid one week later. Customs clearance will be a major hurdle for those NGOs trying to ship in supplies by air. Presently, it may take up to 2-3 weeks to clear much-needed goods through the airport.

United States: As Hurricane Matthew moved up the US East Coast over the course of October 5-9, it left a trail of flooding and destruction in its path, and took the lives of 23 people. More than 2 million people were forced to evacuate from coastal areas, and more flooding is expected as rivers continue to swell. Federal disaster declarations were made for all affected states, and assessments are forthcoming.

Airlink’s Response: Airlink continues to experience strong demand for transportation assistance from its NGO network. Additional teams are preparing to deploy this week as needs assessments become available and access to in-need areas opens up. We are currently organizing a charter for the second portion of the week commencing October 10 to address ongoing needs in-country in coordination with several partners, as well as gauge need for ongoing airlift in the days and weeks ahead.

October 7, 2016

The storm has taken the lives of at least 842 people in Haiti, approximately 61,500 people are still in shelters, and reports now suggest that in the hardest hit areas on the western peninsula, more than 80% of buildings were destroyed. These numbers are expected to grow as agencies and organizations continue to gain access to hard-to-reach areas for assessments.

In addition to major damage to homes and other buildings, damage reports indicate continued flooding, major farmland destruction, and severe infrastructural damage. Roads have been washed out by mudslides, a result of heavy deforestation in Haiti. Emergency humanitarian aid and rescue operations continue to be hampered by the collapse of the Ladigue bridge near Petit-Goave, which connects the hardest hit areas on the southern claw with the rest of the country. Health officials are already seeing a new spike in cholera as a result of the flooding; the disease has claimed more than 9,000 lives  and infected hundreds of thousands more in the past 6 years. Health services and medical supplies, hygiene kits and clean water resources, emergency shelter supplies, and food aid top the list of needs as aid efforts get underway.

The Port-au-Prince airport has now reopened and is accepting flights. The storm narrowly missed southern Florida, traveling up the coast as it weakened to category 3 strength overnight, and as a result, all Florida airports have reopened

Airlink continues to experience somewhat strong demand for transportation assistance from its NGO network. Together with Avianca, JetBlue, and United, 16 personnel staffing Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) and medical teams have been deployed from NGO partners All Hands Volunteers and Heart to Heart International. Airlink is working with 15 disaster response organizations to send more responders and aid cargo.

Check out the latest Airlink SitRep here.

October 6, 2016

The storm has taken the lives of at least 23 people in Haiti, more than 21,000 people are in shelters, and 2,000 homes have been flooded, according to early partial assessments that exclude the hard-hit department of Grande Anse. These numbers are expected to grow as agencies and organizations gain access to the area. Early assessments made by helicopter indicate heavy damage to homes, intense flooding, and major farmland destruction. Roads have been washed out by mudslides, a result of heavy deforestation in Haiti. Emergency humanitarian aid and rescue operations have been hampered by the collapse of the Ladigue bridge near Petit-Goave, which connects the hardest hit areas on the western peninsula with the rest of the country. Health officials are already seeing a spike in cholera as a result of the flooding, with 8 cases reported since the storm hit. As a result of these early assessments, health services and medical supplies, hygiene kits and clean water resources, and emergency shelter supplies top the lists of needs. 

The Port-au-Prince airport has now reopened, and is now accepting flights. However, due to the uncertain path of Hurricane Matthew as it moves towards major hubs in Florida, many flights to the country are still cancelled. Airlink is monitoring the situation in Florida as Hurricane Matthew approaches, and will coordinate with the NGO community should a domestic response be needed. 

Airlink continues to experience somewhat strong demand for transportation assistance from its NGO network. Together with Avianca, JetBlue, and United, 15 personnel staffing Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) and medical teams have been deployed from NGO partners All Hands Volunteers and Heart to Heart International. Airlink is working with 12 disaster response organizations to send more responders and aid cargo.

October 5, 2016

More than 300,000 people are now in shelters in Haiti and food is scarce. Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the southwest part of the country yesterday morning as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds over 125 miles per hour. It also brought significant wind and rain to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica throughout the day.

In Haiti, the damage is exacerbated by poor building construction standards  and pre-existing food insecurity. Damage assessments began in earnest today, but early indications show significant structural damage, which means a long-term response will be needed. There is also strong potential for typhoid and cholera outbreaks. Consequently, health services, medical supplies, and hygiene kits top the lists of needs.  

Airlink has experienced strong demand for disaster response personnel to be sent in, as well as airlift for cargo, from its NGO network. Some disaster assessment teams were sent in by Airlink prior to landfall, via United and Avianca, which service Santo Domingo, DR. Airports continue to remain closed following the storm, and are expected to reopen on Friday. A key bridge connecting the eastern and western parts of the country has collapsed and roads are, to a large extent, impassable as a result of the storm, making overland logistics challenging.

Airlink is working with more than 15 disaster response organizations and is working to send upwards of 15 responders as soon as possible. To date, United, Avianca, and JetBlue are supporting the response with passenger tickets. Chartered cargo flights remain a strong possibility as demand for goods continues to rise.

October 3, 2016

Airlink is closely monitoring Hurricane Matthew and preparing to respond. The Category 4 storm is expected to bypass Jamaica to the east, and hit western Haiti late Monday before moving on to eastern Cuba on Tuesday. The storm is slow moving, with sustained winds near 130mph. Jamaica is expected to get up to 25 inches of rainfall, while parts of Haiti may get up to 40 inches.

Potentially catastrophic flash flooding and storm surges are expected. Due to deforestation, mudslides are of great concern in Haiti, and heavy rainfall is expected to exacerbate the risk of typhoid, cholera, and malaria.

Hurricane warnings are in effect across the region, and Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has placed its regional mechanisms on alert. As of Sunday night, USAID has deployed two disaster response teams to Haiti and Jamaica.