Airlink in Action: March Update

Airlink in Action: March Update

March 2024 Update: Airlink’s Latest Responses

Afghanistan – Complex Crisis

Response

With support from airline partners Kam Air, Philippine Airlines, Turkish Airlines Cargo, and Qatar Airways Cargo, Airlink continues to coordinate the movement of critically needed aid to Afghanistan where most of the population are struggling to meet even basic needs. Vulnerable populations across Afghanistan are at further risk during winter months as they are left exposed to deadly temperatures and vulnerable to health risks.

In response to these needs, and in partnership with the Bayat Foundation, Airlink facilitated airlift for winterization supplies generously donated by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF). These items were distributed to internally displaced populations in Kabul, increasing capacity to withstand severe winter conditions. The strain that winter conditions put on health systems has further weakened Afghanistan’s already fragile health infrastructure, leaving millions of Afghans vulnerable to disease and preventable illness. To fill identified gaps in healthcare access, Airlink coordinated the movement of 10 tons of health supplies on behalf of INTERSOS and MEDAIR. These shipments contained pharmaceuticals and medical supplies that are essential for primary and emergency healthcare services and will be distributed to clinics across multiple provinces, ultimately benefiting tens of thousands of patients.

Australia – Cyclone Jasper 

Recovery 

In the immediate aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Jasper and a string of destructive storms in Queensland late last year, Airlink partner Taskforce Kiwi quickly mobilized to assist Disaster Relief Australia’s operations. Thanks to support from American Airlines, Airlink facilitated transportation for four additional volunteers traveling from New Zealand to impacted communities in Australia. Throughout the recovery operation, Airlink secured flights for 20 volunteers supporting debris removal, infrastructure repair, and damage assessment.

Vanuatu – Cyclone Lola

Recovery 

Airlink partner Taskforce Kiwi continues to support relief efforts in communities impacted by Tropical Cyclone Lola, which hit Vanuatu in October 2023. Significant damage to civilian infrastructure remains, requiring assessments to identify necessary repairs. With generous funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Airlink provided international flights for Taskforce Kiwi’s ongoing response, including volunteers from Disaster Relief Australia and REACT Disaster Response.

Ukraine – Conflict & Displacement

Response

Last month marked two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Airlink has maintained support for partners responding to humanitarian needs in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Since the onset of the conflict, Airlink is proud to have responded alongside 66 nonprofit partners in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and Hungary. To date, Airlink has coordinated cargo movement for more than 2.4 million kilos of humanitarian aid; secured 1,092 flights for responders, medical professionals, logistics experts, and volunteers; ultimately offsetting over $9.2 million in transportation costs for nonprofit partners.

Most recently, Airlink facilitated flights for 18 humanitarian personnel in partnership with GlobalMedic, Global Care Force, Global Outreach Doctors, Global Response Medicine, International Ministry of Charity Emmanuel, and REACT Disaster Response. Airlink’s partners continue to respond to widespread humanitarian needs, providing primary and emergency healthcare, distributing food and WASH assistance, and launching capacity-building training. Thank you to United Airlines for the continued support of Airlink’s response, empowering responding organizations to provide critical support to local communities.

In addition, Airlink continues to coordinate airlift for relief and recovery supplies thanks to dedicated cargo airlift alongside airline and logistics partners. This includes an ongoing airbridge in partnership with GlobalMedic, coordinating weekly shipments to Ukraine, where internally-displaced populations will receive water, sanitation, and hygiene items. This program has been made possible by the generosity of Air Canada Cargo and the Flexport.org Fund. Airlink partners International Ministry of Charity Emmanuel and Shelters International Disaster Response have maintained responses distributing food and nutrition assistance to communities with limited access to basic needs and services, with airlift generously provided by CargoJet and United Airlines Cargo.

Dominican Republic – Health Systems Strengthening 

Response

Thanks to the generous support of Avianca Cargo and the UPS Foundation, Airlink coordinated the cold-chain movement of chemotherapy medications donated by Catholic Medical Mission Board. This shipment, capable of providing treatment to 900 to 1,800 patients, has increased access to previously scarce and cost-prohibitive medications for the Hospital Buen Samaritano, which provides healthcare support to vulnerable community members.

Haiti – Complex Crisis

Response

In February, an escalation in violence in Port-au-Prince resulted in mass displacements and challenges in delivering essential humanitarian assistance. The recent unrest has severely strained the healthcare system, as three major hospitals have shut down and several other healthcare facilities have either closed their doors or scaled back operations due to the combination of violence, shortages of medical supplies and staff. Thanks to American Airlines, Airlink has been able to maintain support for passenger flights on behalf of The Centre Hospitalier de Fontaine (CHF) Foundation. This has enabled the CHF Foundation to increase the capacity of their mobile clinic program, providing critical medical, WASH, and food aid to displaced communities in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Cité-Soleil.

Mexico – U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis

Response

In February, an increased number of migrants arrived in Mexico and the US from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, and Europe. In northern Mexico, asylum seekers face indefinite waits for appointments with US immigration authorities. Migrants face challenges from extreme weather, lack of safe shelter, inconsistent access to food, water, and hygiene items, and limited availability of medical care. With ongoing support from American Airlines and United Airlines, Airlink provided flights for 11 staff members, volunteers, medical professionals, and engineers for the following partners:

  • A dedicated team of Solidarity Inc. engineers focused on monitoring and improving water, health, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in informal tent camps throughout the northern Mexican State of Tamaulipas. In addition, the team distributed hygiene and oral rehydration supplies.

  • Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action’s team of medical professionals traveled to Reynosa, Mexico, to provide primary and urgent medical care to asylum-seeking populations in cities along the US-Mexico border. Their team primarily sees patients arriving from Central America and Haiti in need of obstetrics, maternal health and pediatric care.

  • Haitian Bridge Alliance’s team specializes in providing basic services, education, and translation to asylum-seekers in San Diego. Airlink-supported flights allowed them to scale up their operations due to the increased number of individuals seeking assistance.

Chile – Wildfires

Response

In late January, wildfires spread across central Chile, particularly affecting the regions of Valparaíso, O’Higgins, and Maule. The wildfires led to 165 reported casualties and the destruction of over 6,500 homes, marking the deadliest forest fires in the nation’s history.  ADRA International responded to the wildfire outbreak, providing hot meals, water and hygiene kits, shelter items, and school kits. Airlink is proud to provide flights for an ADRA team member to support the local operations with coordination, needs assessment, project implementation, and monitoring of current interventions.

Colombia – Venezuela Migrant Crisis 

Response

Nearly 2 million Venezuelan migrants and asylum seekers currently live in Colombia due to the ongoing economic crisis. Migrant populations are often marginalized, and are unable to access healthcare services due to high cost or exclusion from the national healthcare system. Thanks to Avianca‘s support, Airlink coordinated flights on behalf of three MedGlobal medical professionals. Their team aims to provide primary care services to around 500 Venezuelan migrants and internally displaced Colombians.

Middle East – Complex Crisis
Response

In response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the broader region, Airlink has coordinated transportation for over 115 tons of critically needed relief supplies, in partnership with 11 nonprofit organizations, to support the immense needs across the region. This includes medicines, medical supplies, shelter items, durable medical equipment, and water, sanitation, and hygiene kits delivered to emergency response programs supporting emergency needs in Gaza, displaced populations in nearby countries, and regional cargo pre-positioning. More than half of this aid was delivered and distributed to partners in Gaza.

Last year, Airlink facilitated a charter operation in partnership with International Medical Corps to establish a field hospital in Gaza, significantly increasing available medical care. Airlink is supporting international flights for individuals staffing the field hospital as well.

Airlink’s partner network remains committed to identifying and addressing humanitarian needs in the region. One nonprofit partner, MedGlobal, recently shared an urgent need for additional hospital beds to improve capacity across overwhelmed medical facilities. In response to this, another Airlink partner, Partners for World Health, generously donated dozens of specialized hospital beds that will dramatically increase the number of patients able to receive healthcare. Airlink organized the airlift for this shipment. In their operational lifetime, the beds will support a minimum of 170,000 patients.

In addition to the movement of aid, Airlink has secured passenger travel for more than 40 humanitarian personnel in support of projects across the region, providing emergency medical and mental health care, coordination surge capacity, aid distribution, assessment expertise, and additional specialties. The generous support of Airlink’s airline, logistics, and funding partners have made these operations possible, and Airlink remains committed to supporting civilians and active partners throughout the region for as long as humanitarian needs persist.

Morocco – Earthquake
Recovery 

In response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the broader region, Airlink has coordinated transportation for over 115 tons of critically needed relief supplies, in partnership with 11 nonprofit organizations, to support the immense needs across the region. This includes medicines, medical supplies, shelter items, durable medical equipment, and water, sanitation, and hygiene kits delivered to emergency response programs supporting emergency needs in Gaza, displaced populations in nearby countries, and regional cargo pre-positioning. More than half of this aid was delivered and distributed to partners in Gaza.

Last year, Airlink facilitated a charter operation in partnership with International Medical Corps to establish a field hospital in Gaza, significantly increasing available medical care. Airlink is supporting international flights for individuals staffing the field hospital as well.

Airlink’s partner network remains committed to identifying and addressing humanitarian needs in the region. One nonprofit partner, MedGlobal, recently shared an urgent need for additional hospital beds to improve capacity across overwhelmed medical facilities. In response to this, another Airlink partner, Partners for World Health, generously donated dozens of specialized hospital beds that will dramatically increase the number of patients able to receive healthcare. Airlink organized the airlift for this shipment. In their operational lifetime, the beds will support a minimum of 170,000 patients.

In addition to the movement of aid, Airlink has secured passenger travel for more than 40 humanitarian personnel in support of projects across the region, providing emergency medical and mental health care, coordination surge capacity, aid distribution, assessment expertise, and additional specialties. The generous support of Airlink’s airline, logistics, and funding partners have made these operations possible, and Airlink remains committed to supporting civilians and active partners throughout the region for as long as humanitarian needs persist.

California, USA – Floods
Response 

In early February, an atmospheric river brought excessive rainfall, flooding, and mudslides, leaving about 1 million people without power and parts of California under a state of emergency. Following the floods, Airlink secured passenger transport for Toolbank USA to Southern California where their team distributed tools and equipment to impacted households to aid in clean up and rebuilding efforts. This response was made possible thanks to long term partner American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Florida, USA – Hurricane Ian 

Recovery

Airlink’s partner network remains dedicated to long-term recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian’s devastating impact in Florida in 2022. With support from American Airlines and United Airlines, Airlink facilitated flights for 15 relief personnel in partnership with Disaster Services Corporation, SVDP-USA, Inspiritus, and International Orthodox Christian Charities. These organizations continue to support communities with rebuilding and repair expertise, psycho-social services, and capacity building.

Florida, USA – Hurricane Ian 

Recovery

Long term recovery is ongoing in western Kentucky where a string of tornadoes brought widespread destruction in December 2021. International Orthodox Christian Charities continues to support vulnerable populations, including the elderly, women, and children, through sustained rebuilding efforts on community infrastructure and residential homes. Generous support from American Airlines and United Airlines ensures that partners such as International Orthodox Christian Charities are able to sustain long term programming.

Ethiopia – Northern Ethiopia Complex Crisis 

Response

Although conflict has subsided in Northern Ethiopia, the humanitarian needs are dire due to the impact of the conflict, ongoing hostilities, drought, and widespread food insecurity. Health systems have been significantly impacted, and Airlink partners such as Medical Teams International are working urgently to increase access to healthcare. With free of charge airlift from Qatar Airways Cargo, medicines, medical supplies, and equipment arrived in Ethiopia where the goods will be used to treat communicable and non-communicable diseases in conflict-affected areas and refugee camps in the Afar, Tigray, and Amhara regions.

Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda – Health Systems Strengthening

Response

With support from several airline, logistics, and foundation partners, Airlink continues to support NGOs dedicated to strengthening health systems around the world, with a focus on fragile contexts.

Last month, with support from American Airlines and United Airlines, Airlink coordinated travel for 23 Bridge to Health Medical and Dental health professionals to Kenya and Uganda. The teams launched rural health clinics, providing medical care to communities with limited access to health facilities.

In Nigeria, in partnership with CardioStart International and with support from United Airlines Cargo and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a shipment of medical equipment will be distributed to specialized health facilities to enhance capacity for life saving interventions.

Health systems strengthening remains a critical need for communities impacted by natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

In Malawi, Health Partners International of Canada continues to support the overpopulated Dzaleka Refugee Camp with medicines to treat and prevent the spread of cholera. The Flexport.org Fund provided funding for this critical shipment of medicines that will provide 12,000 individuals with access to treatment.

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