April 2022 Partner Update: Airlink’s March Operations
- Airlink / Air Canada humanitarian charter departs Toronto, filled with medical supplies to support GlobalMedic’s programs in Ukraine and Poland.
- United Airlines and Airlink provided flights for Team Rubicon volunteers, flying to Poland to provide medical assistance to Ukrainian Refugees.
- Virgin Atlantic partners with Airlink to transport humanitarian aid to help Ukraine.
- Airlink receives support from the GE Foundation, to support immediate and long-term relief to Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Recovery: Tonga – Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai Eruption and Tsunami
Communities in Tonga are still recovering after the January 15th eruption of the Hunga-Ha’apai volcano. The islands’ farmlands were devastated by tsunami waves and a thick blanket of ash. In a country where 80% of the community relies on home gardens, damage to the soil has raised significant concerns regarding food security. Despite significant logistical challenges reaching the island nation, Airlink supported a shipment of vital food supplies with NGO partner Convoy of Hope. Thank you to our partners at Fiji Airways for supporting the cargo shipment to Fiji, before it was moved onward to Tonga via repatriation flights.
Response: Ukraine – War and Refugee Crisis
The war in Ukraine has resulted in a devastating humanitarian crisis. By the end of March, an estimated 4 million Ukrainian refugees fled to neighboring countries, and an additional 6.5 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine. Airlink has stood up a robust response to meet the needs of those affected by the conflict, thanks to the assistance of our partners at Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Flexport.org, SEKO Logistics, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
In March alone, Airlink transported 134 tons of humanitarian cargo over nine shipments of medical supplies, hospital equipment, hygiene kits, and items for children. This includes the coordination of two charters to move lifesaving medical supplies. In addition, Airlink supported flights for over 170 responders for 20 NGO partners. Those deployed include doctors, nurses, psychologists, fuel assessment experts, telecommunication experts, logistics specialists, and team leaders.
- Airlink’s NGO partners ADRA International, CADENA, GlobalMedic, IsraAID, and Relief International have focused on refugee support in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Moldova by coordinating with local partners to provide necessary services to those crossing the border. Groups are assisting to expand the capacity of local shelters through bed distribution and staff support. Programs distributing food, water, blankets, hygiene items, medication, and first aid kits continue to support vulnerable populations. In addition, specialized programs, such as a psychosocial support center for children and cash assistance initiatives, are developed to meet the evolving needs of refugees on the ground.
- As the conflict continues to strain local supply chains and logistics infrastructure, Airlink works to identify efficient and effective methods of aid delivery. Airlink’s partner Convoy of Hope secured a warehouse in Poland to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian supplies into Ukraine. Airlink supported a shipment of over 20 tons of relief goods including medical supplies, hygiene kits, baby kits, blankets, and first aid kits for distribution to Convoy of Hope local partners in Poland and Ukraine.
- Gaps in healthcare access continue to be a major concern for Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced populations. Airlink is proud to coordinate flights for medical teams with Global Outreach Doctors, GRM, Team Rubicon, Hands on Global, Mobile Medics International, Medical Teams International, CORE, and Empact Northwest consisting of physicians, nurses, and paramedics with expertise in trauma medicine, pediatrics, maternal and reproductive health, pharmaceutical delivery, and mental health and psychosocial support.
- In addition to personnel support, Airlink is supporting cargo movements that strengthen the capacity of healthcare systems to support refugees and impacted civilians. In the early days of the response, Airlink coordinated a charter flight and two additional flights to move hospital beds and medical supplies for our partners at Project C.U.R.E. Three additional shipments carrying requested medical and surgical supplies for our partners at GlobalMedic and Afya Foundation reached healthcare facilities serving impacted families in Poland and Ukraine.
- With Moldova’s health systems struggling under the added pressure of 300,000 refugees seeking security within their borders, Airlink coordinated a charter with partners at World Hope International of medical supplies requested by the Moldovan Ministry of Health. The shipment of 220,000 pounds of emergency medical supplies including bandages, syringes, and IVs supported the healthcare system in meeting the healthcare needs of the refugees within their borders.
- With RE:ACT UK, Airlink supported flights for 12 team members providing planning and logistical support to active supply chains from Poland to Ukraine. The operations have prioritized maximizing the efficiency of logistics networks in order to meet the need of internally displaced and war-impacted communities in Ukraine.
- Airlink coordinated flights for a three-member assessment team with NetHope to identify gaps in internet connectivity and opportunities to provide secure Wi-Fi networks for humanitarian responders and refugees.
- The war in Ukraine and the movement of refugees have caused unprecedented demand on the local fuel supply. Fuel Relief Fund, in partnership with the World Food Programme, coordinated across agencies to streamline fuel procurement and distribution to humanitarian agencies and individuals at the Polish border. Airlink coordinated flights for a Fuel Relief Fund team member who provided this fuel-related supply chain expertise to critical aid agencies at the border and conflict zones.
- As stable access to clean water continues to be a concern for refugee and internally displaced populations, Airlink supported flights for a Waves for Water pilot team to train and outfit a local Ukrainian partner with water filtration systems. The initial phase of the program will provide an estimated 25,000 people with clean water.
Response: Mexico – Central America Migrant Crises
Airlink continues to support Global Response Management’s ongoing program in Matamoros and Reynosa, MX. In March, an increased number of migrants from Central America and Haiti reached the border. GRM’s medical teams provide primary and urgent care, women’s health, OB care, COVID testing and care, medication distribution, both telehealth and local specialty referral pathways, and health consultations pertinent to legal cases. Airlink is proud to support a flight for a registered nurse to fill the gap in healthcare services.
Preparedness: Belize – Emergency Response And Preparedness Program
Empact Northwest is conducting an emergency response and preparedness program in Belize to strengthen the country’s emergency response system. Thanks to the support of Alaska Airlines, Airlink coordinated flights for a two-week intensive training as one phase to develop an internationally deployable rescue team. In partnership with Belize Heros, the Empact Northwest team provided the Belize fire service with Incident Command System training, resulting in quicker emergency response times to communities in need, and the collection of necessary data to implement continuous improvement programs.
Response: Louisiana, USA – Tornadoes
On March 22, 2022, several destructive tornadoes tore through parts of Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi. New Orleans was hit with an EF3 tornado that reached 160mph, making it the strongest tornado to strike the city on record. The storms killed at least two people, left thousands without power, and damaged hundreds of buildings. With support from Southwest Airlines, Airlink coordinated flights for a member of Crisis Cleanup’s team who is on the ground coordinating with city officials, relief organizations, and survivors to meet local needs.
Recovery: Louisiana, USA – Hurricane Ida
NECHAMA continues to be active in the St. Parish area. Their Hurricane Ida Recovery program brings together volunteers and other relief organizations to help with mucking and gutting and tree work for those impacted by the hurricane. Airlink was proud to support flights for two members of the team in partnership with Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
Recovery: California, USA – Wildfires
All Hands and Hearts’ California Wildfire Relief Program in California is focused on increasing the resilience of communities to a fire. In partnership with Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, six volunteers traveled to California, where they are being trained in chainsaw work to buffer communities from fires.