November 2022 Partner Update: Airlink’s Latest Operations
- Upcoming Regional Coordination Calls – Airlink’s team is planning Q4’s regional coordination calls, including:
- Latin America & the Caribbean: Responding to Haiti’s Complex Crisis
- Emerging Crises Across Sub-Saharan Africa
- Extreme Weather Event Preparedness in Asia and the Pacific
Response: Afghanistan – War and Complex Humanitarian Crisis
- Thanks to humanitarian airlift from Qatar Airways and Kam Air, over 6 tons of medicines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment arrived in Kabul on behalf of Americares and International Health Partners. This included fragile pharmaceuticals requiring cold-chain transportation that will significantly increase in-country partners’ capacity to provide medical care.
Response: Bangladesh – Rohingya Refugee Crisis
- With support from American Airlines, Airlink provided four passenger flights to Bangladesh for medical volunteers with MedGlobal. These volunteers led a Basic Life Support in Obstetrics course for nearly 40 midwives working in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps which hosts one of the highest concentrations of refugees in the world. Newborn and maternal mortality rates are high within the camps and this course empowers midwives to support safe births and maternal care.
Response: Marshall Islands – COVID-19 Outbreak
- In partnership with United Airlines, Airlink coordinated flights for two Nito’s Wings volunteers to the Marshall Islands. COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the islands after they reopened travel. Nito’s Wings is working directly with the Ministry of Health to provide aid that meets the islands’ immediate needs.
Response: Pakistan – Flood Response
- This year, flooding has affected over 33 million people, resulting in over 1,700 casualties, and displacing more than 3 million people. Through support from American Airlines, Airlink was able to provide flights for two passengers from NetHope. These team members provided key assessments of telecommunications needs to support response and recovery efforts. Thanks to the free-of-charge cargo support of Qatar Airways, Airlink was able to support a shipment of 900 Family Emergency Kits to Pakistan with GlobalMedic. These kits, including vital Water, Health, and Sanitation items, were distributed to individuals and families affected by the flooding. Further, Airlink supported flights for three GlobalMedic volunteers to support local response efforts.
Response: Ukraine – War and Refugee Crisis
Nearly a third of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes since the start of the war in February. According to UNHCR, over six million people are displaced within Ukraine, and eight million refugees remain across Europe. Hostilities, particularly in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine have faced damage to infrastructure and interrupted supply chains, hampering civilian access to basic supplies.
Airlink’s operations remain active and continue to meet the needs of those affected by the conflict, thanks to the generosity and support of our partners at Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Amerijet, British Airways, Flexport.org, Priority Worldwide Service, SEKO Logistics, United Airlines, UPS Foundation, and Virgin Atlantic.
In October, Airlink supported flights for 10 passengers and coordinated transportation for 263 tons of cargo, expanding community access to healthcare, water, sanitation, and hygiene services, nutrition, shelter, and protection. To date, Airlink supported programs have benefitted over 4 million civilians in 89 communities throughout the region, providing life-saving and life-sustaining support to those in need. Airlink is committed to supporting humanitarian needs through this response, as long as needs exist.
In Ukraine, around 18 million people, or 40% of the population, depend on aid. The number of those in need will continue to rise to potentially 24 million as winter approaches. Millions of people who lack access to proper clothing and heating are likely to be severely impacted. This, combined with attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, has spurred the need for rapid winterization in order to provide much-needed aid to those displaced, increasing protection from related health and safety concerns that come with colder temperatures. In response to this critical need, Airlink has launched a winterization response, supporting shipments of various items necessary to survive harsh winter conditions. Working with USA for UNHCR, Airlink supported the movement for over 83,000 pairs of winter boots to provide winter weather protection to those displaced by the war.
In addition to the recent increase in winter-specific requests, Airlink has maintained regular airlift of aid on weekly flights to Ukraine and neighboring countries on behalf of GlobalMedic. With support from Air Canada Cargo, the ongoing air bridge has delivered over 113 tons of lifesaving aid to communities impacted by the war. The cargo includes food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies, and firefighting equipment. With at least 10 shipments in the pipeline, Airlink will continue to support such air bridge models to ensure there is a steady source of humanitarian relief in the region.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has compounded a variety of crises that existed prior, including food insecurity. Airlink has supported Polish Humanitarian Action in the cross-Europe movement of 120 pallets of food aid for Ukrainian refugees.
At least 30-40 percent of the country’s energy system has sustained damage, leaving 4.5 million Ukrainians without regular access to electricity. Thanks to United Airlines, Airlink and Waves for Water coordinated a shipment of solar lights to individuals and families, increasing their sustainable access to electricity.
Healthcare systems throughout Ukraine have been impacted by the ongoing conflict. A recent survey from the WHO found that 1 in 5 people was unable to access critical medications due to unavailability and inflation in pricing. With support from United Airlines, Airlink was able to assist in the movement of key shipments of medical equipment and first aid supplies for our partners Razom and Medwish International.
With our partners at Project HOPE, Airlink supported the cross-Europe movement of non-communicable disease kits, including medicines and medical equipment, as well as inter-agency emergency health kits, including pharmaceuticals and additional medical supplies. These medical supplies will help in addressing key barriers in the local healthcare system.
In partnership with American Airlines and United Airlines, Airlink coordinated flights for 10 volunteers from Smart Medical Aid UA, IsraAID, and Waves for Water in October. Their volunteers provided logistical support, medical and psychosocial support and training, and implemented clean water systems in Ukraine.
Preparedness: Belize – Disaster Response Preparedness
Airlink continues to support Empact Northwest’s disaster preparedness program in the Cayo district of Belize with support from American Airlines. Volunteers are providing emergency telecommunications training for first responders and firefighters to increase their efficiency and effectiveness when responding to disasters.
Preparedness: Ecuador – Climate Change Study
Thanks to the support of American Airlines, Airlink supported flights for two members of the Engineers Without Borders team to complete climate change studies in their local offices. Extreme weather, crop failures, and water scarcity continue to affect Guatemalan programs. The research will directly inform the engineering solutions their team implements alongside the community to mitigate the effect of climate change.
Response: Mexico – Migrant Crisis Response
Airlink continues to support programs along the US-Mexico border, thanks to the support of American Airlines and United Airlines. Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action continues to provide surge capacity for a clinic in Reynosa, Mexico experiencing a growing number of patients. The clinic provides access to medical care and basic services to migrants, primarily from Central America and the Caribbean, awaiting a decision on their asylum cases.
Response: Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic – Hurricane Fiona Response
Hurricane Fiona was the first major hurricane of the 2022 season, causing immense damage across the Caribbean. Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 18th as a Category 1 Hurricane, leaving the island without power or clean water for several days. Thanks to the support of United Airlines, Airlink worked to send LuminAID solar lights to CORE, Off-the-Grid Missions, Puerto Rico Rises, Sol Relief, and Together Puerto Rico to send 3,500 solar light chargers to areas experiencing regular power outages. JetBlue Airways supported airlift for a member of the Off-the-Grid Missions team to provide critical services to the island’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. Finally, thanks to the support of American Airlines, Airlink supported passengers from Waves for Water to provide access to clean water to 25,000 people through the distribution of water filters.
In the Dominican Republic, Fiona passed over the eastern portion of the country, leaving over a million people without running water. On behalf of our partners at Project HOPE, Airlink coordinated airlift for 6 pallets of critical medicines and medical supplies for the Ministry of Health and Civil Defense Agency. The shipment was made possible thanks to the support of Avianca Cargo.
Response: Palestine – Complex Crisis
Years of stressors, including COVID-19, have pushed Palestine’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse. Critical shortages and high prices for essential medicines have contributed to challenges in accessing health services. Those with chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are especially vulnerable to systemic challenges. In response to this need, Airlink provided airlift for 17 tons of medicines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment for its partner at United Palestinian Appeal, with free-of-charge support from Qatar Airways Cargo.
Airlink recently supported passenger travel for two medical professionals traveling to the Gaza Strip as part of a MedGlobal sponsored Short-Term Medical Intervention where they will support the health system through capacity building and training of medical staff.
Response: Lebanon – Health Systems Strengthening
Due to Lebanon’s ongoing economic collapse and complex crisis, the healthcare sector is under-resourced and stretched thin. Costs for vital medicines and supplies are too high for medical facilities, patients, and health providers, leading to dwindling stocks. This is now compounded by the recent cholera outbreak. To fill this life-threatening gap, Airlink coordinated cargo movement for 15 tons of medicines, personal protective equipment, and supplies alongside United Palestinian Appeal with free of charge airlift from Qatar Airways Cargo. These shipments include life-saving items such as pediatric antibiotics for treatable illnesses including ear infections, strep throat, and pneumonia, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
The current economic collapse has also led to erratic electricity access, meaning the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community does not have reliable light and is unable to communicate through Sign Language when needed. In response to this need, Airlink provided passenger travel for a volunteer with Off-the-Grid Missions to Lebanon, where they identified over 50 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing families in need of assistance and distributed solar lights.
Response: Sudan – Greater Horn of Africa Crisis
At least three million children under five suffer from malnutrition across Sudan. Widespread malnutrition is exacerbated by a lack of access to clean water, which can lead to the spread of waterborne illnesses. This is especially alarming given the global increase in cholera outbreaks. In response to this crisis, Airlink mobilized airlift for 81 tons of critically needed nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies from GlobalMedic. Thanks to free-of-charge flights from Qatar Airways Cargo, infant and toddler nutritional supplements and Family Emergency Kits arrived in Khartoum, ensuring 10,000 children will have access to food for the next 3 months.
Response: Florida, USA – Hurricane Ian Rapid Response
Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm, bringing 155 mph maximum sustained winds to Southwest Florida. Ian killed more than 100 people across Florida, making it one of the deadliest storms to hit the U.S. this century. With support from airline partners Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Jetblue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, Airlink supported flights for 164 responders in October.
Immediately after the storm, Empact Northwest deployed their Pathfinder team to the area to connect with response partners and assess damage to determine what kind of follow-up team would be needed.
Ian damaged and destroyed thousands of buildings, leaving hundreds of communities displaced. Repairing the damage from Hurricane Ian will cost $65B to $120B. NGO partners Crisis Cleanup, Habitat for Humanity International, Inspiritus, International Orthodox Christian Charities, Toolbank, IsraAID, SBP USA, and World Hope International deployed volunteers to provide site assessments, debris management, home repairs, WASH, and other cleanup services to affected communities. Operation BBQ Relief set up their largest and longest deployment in Florida, providing over 800,000 hot meals to communities and first responders.
Over 300,000 people in Florida were left without power for more than a week as a result of the damage. Footprint Project and ITDRC were on the ground providing solar power and emergency telecommunications services. The storm also disrupted oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, putting a strain on local fuel supply making it more difficult for first responders and critical supplies to get to the most affected areas. Fuel Relief Fund was able to provide over 25,000 gallons of free fuel to communities in the Fort Myers area.
Hurricane Ian had a significant impact on the public health system in Florida. Several hundred healthcare facilities including pharmacies, dialysis centers, and community health centers were affected by power and communications outages. Healthcare Ready, Heart to Heart International, Mobile Medics International, and Project Hope deployed teams of volunteers that conducted assessments on healthcare centers, provided healthcare services, and distributed essential medicine and hygiene items to affected communities.
Schools were closed in some of the most affected counties including Lee and Charlotte counties. NGO partners Child Life Disaster Relief, Feed the Children, Project:Camp, and Save the Children US provided safe and trauma-informed places for children to process and recover from Hurricane Ian. Their efforts were also targeted at providing aid in the form of food, personal care items, and cleaning supplies to families.
Response: Atlantic Canada – Hurricane Fiona Rapid Response
Hurricane Fiona last made landfall in Nova Scotia Canada as the strongest storm to ever hit the country. To date, Airlink has supported 37 flights for Team Rubicon Canada greyshirts thanks to the continued support of Air Canada. Team Rubicon Canada greyshirts deployed immediately after the hurricane to provide hazard mitigation, site surveys, debris management, and home repairs to the affected communities.
Recovery: Louisiana, USA – Hurricane Ida Recovery
Airlink continues providing flights for International Orthodox Christian Charities and NECHAMA volunteers to the affected communities. Thanks to the support of American Airlines and United Airlines, Airlink provided flights to 9 volunteers in October.
Response: Kenya – Greater Horn of Africa Crisis
In partnership with American Airlines and United Airlines, Airlink supported flights to Kenya for 11 volunteers from International Ministry of Charity Emmanuel (IMOCE). The volunteers provided support to IMOCE’s existing program in the Turkana region of Kenya. The volunteers provided food assistance and medical and sand flea infestation treatment to a tribe of 5,000 people. They also assisted with the development of child-friendly spaces including a school that will increase access to education, medical care, and mental health assistance for children.
Response: South Sudan – Complex Humanitarian Crisis
The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has worsened significantly in 2022. Continued conflict and instability combined with flooding have resulted in large-scale internal and cross-border displacement. With support from United Airlines, Airlink provided flights to two IsraAID passengers to South Sudan. IsraAID continues to facilitate its long-term programs in the country, combating gender-based violence through a multi-sectoral strategy that includes public health, education, livelihoods, and child protection.