Category 4 Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle with record breaking force on October 10, 2018. The strongest storm to ever hit the region, Hurricane Michael produced sustained winds of 150 miles per hour and brought storm surges between 9-14 feet tall across Florida’s Gulf Coast. Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Panama City Airports suspended services for several days following the storm.
Airlink worked with airline and NGO partners, as well as state and national VOADs, to facilitate the most appropriate and effective response to the storm. In the immediate aftermath, in partnership with United Airlines, Airlink deployed a small group of volunteers from Operation BBQ Relief to set up their mobile kitchens to bring hot meals to those displaced by the storm, as well as medical personnel and kit from Heart to Heart International to address immediate medical and hygiene needs.
In the weeks and months that followed, Airlink helped 13 NGOs deploy 116 staff and volunteers to help with the immediate response – including debris removal, muck-and-gut operations, food, medical assistance, and psychosocial support – as well as the long-term recovery effort, which includes disaster case management and home repair and rebuilding.
Airlink continues to support recovery efforts in 2019, thanks to the generosity of United Airlines and Spirit Airlines.