On January 12, 2010 at 5:22pm local time, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the highly populated area of Department Ouest, Haiti, approximately 16 miles from Port au Prince. By January 24, more than 50 aftershocks measuring a magnitude of 4.5 or greater had hit the area. Over the course of those 12 days, the human impact was great; the UN and USAID estimates that more than 230,000 people were killed, 300,000 more were injured, and a total of 1.5 million people were displaced as a result of the earthquakes. With the seaports closed and many roads made impassable by the destruction, getting water, food, temporary shelter, and medical supplies to those in need was difficult.
Following the initial earthquake, Airlink went into action for the first time. Starting with a 39,000 pound shipment of goods from Save the Children and Shelterbox flown in by Amerijet, Airlink went on to coordinate over 40 shipments of humanitarian aid in the first 13 months following the disaster.
Airlink joined forces with UPS, Partners in Health (PIH), and Invacare Ohio to move a shipment of oxygen container medical equipment from Ohio to Haiti. UPS was able to fully donate the move door-to-door from Ohio to Haiti.
Airlink partnered with Sage Popovich to move a shipment of medical supplies and food on a donated Challenger 601 Medevac plane. Three critical patients were flown out of Port-au-Prince on the return flight and brought to hospitals in Fort Lauderdale, FL, New Haven, CT, and Gary, IN, where they received pro bono treatment.
By February 24, 2010, Airlink had partnered with 9 airlines and 10 NGOs to facilitate more 40 flights to bring doctors, nurses, first response teams, and aid supplies, including food, medical supplies, and emergency shelter, to respond to the great need of the Haitian people.