As part of the Airlink team, I’m only too aware of the frequency and ferocity with which natural disasters wreak havoc on everything and everyone in their wake. Last year, we responded to a new emergency every three weeks on average, yet when news broke of the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai on Mozambique and surrounding countries, it struck a chord on a very personal level.
Throughout my childhood, our family hosted international students studying at a local college in the U.K. Kwasi, a student from Mozambique, made a lasting impression on me: pulsating music that permeated through the house, an impressive range of vibrant shirts, and his infectious laugh that still echoes in my ears. As well as teaching me to ride a bike without training wheels, Kwasi also ignited in me a curiosity of the wider world and a desire to visit the beautiful country he spoke so warmly about.
Meanwhile, my dad’s work in the international shipping industry also took him to Mozambique and opened my eyes at an early age to the importance of logistics in the world. When dad would return home from his trips, he not only brought back intriguing musical instruments, but also insight into the ultimate puzzle of ensuring supplies are in the right place, at the right time — and never is this more important than in the aftermath of a humanitarian crisis.
The experiences Kwasi and my dad shared with me are on my mind this week as I’m in Mozambique in my capacity as director of humanitarian programs at Airlink. Working in support of communities in crisis, Airlink connects nonprofits and the aviation sector to deliver disaster responders and supplies in the wake of humanitarian crises worldwide. I’ll be spending time with our incredible nonprofit partners who are delivering life-saving assistance to people in extraordinary need. I’ll also be meeting with the generous aviation partners and corporate supporters helping to make the response possible.
Approximately 1.85 million people have been affected by the cyclone, and the number of confirmed cholera cases stands at 2,426 and continues to rise. Only by ensuring that the necessary expertise and humanitarian supplies are reaching people in dire need, can we prevent this from becoming an even more catastrophic human tragedy.
I’ll be checking in throughout the week with updates on how the unique collaboration between Airlink, our nonprofit partners, airlines and other supporters, is helping to save lives and offer hope to communities facing their darkest hour.
About our response to Cyclone Idai: To-date, Airlink has transported 46 disaster responders and more than 34,000 pounds of aid for 12 partners responding to Cyclone Idai. Through Airlink’s partnership with nongovernmental organizations, airlines and donors, disaster survivors are receiving medical care, food, clean water and other necessities supporting their recovery. Follow our response to Cyclone Idai.