Current Situation Overview
The war in Ukraine has resulted in a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and the overall situation continues to deteriorate across the country.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that a total of up to 8.3 million refugees could have fled Ukraine by the end of the year and up to 25 million people could be displaced and require humanitarian aid.
In addition, more than 8 million are internally displaced in Ukraine. This is the largest displacement of European citizens since the Second World War, and women and children account for the majority of refugees.
Ukraine’s health infrastructure has been significantly damaged, leaving operational facilities under-resourced and overwhelmed by patient needs.
Airlink swiftly activated its Europe Regional Response Plan following the Russian Federation’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022.
In the first month of our response, Airlink transported more than 100 tons of humanitarian cargo, including medical supplies, hospital equipment, hygiene kits, and items for children. We have now mobilized more than 70 cargo movements into Europe, including four charters to move lifesaving medical supplies.
We have also supported the transportation of 600 responders to Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania on behalf of 20 nonprofit partners. Those deployed include doctors, nurses, psychologists, fuel assessment experts, telecommunication experts, logistics specialists, and team leaders.
Within Ukraine, hostilities continue to disrupt logistics infrastructure, supply chain, and humanitarian corridors. Airlink is supporting the humanitarian community to identify efficient and effective delivery of aid and the transport of personnel.
This includes fulfilling requests for humanitarian cargo delivery that will not cause additional bottlenecks in neighboring countries or strain local resources, and to make certain appropriate consignees are arranged on the ground. We continue to assess changing airspace restrictions and identify flight options on commercial carriers in the region.
We expect to support 20-40 NGOs over a 24-month period, and will sustain operations for as long as airlift and logistics support is needed by our nonprofit partners.
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The volunteers will get as close as they can to Ukraine. They’re catching a flight through a program called Airlink, based in D.C. Airlink takes donated miles and cash from people and businesses and uses it to fly help wherever it’s needed.
All AAdvantage miles donated to American’s Miles for Social Good program during the month of March will be directed to Airlink to help transport physicians and relief workers to Eastern Europe to assist with humanitarian relief in Ukraine.
The company, through its foundation, will make a $400,000 donation to provide immediate relief to refugees in need of emergency cash. It will donate another $100,000 to Airlink, a humanitarian relief organization that connects airlines and pre-qualified non-profits to help communities in crisis.
United Airlines is encouraging passengers to donate either money or their MileagePlus miles, which the company would then match up to $100,000 and 5 million miles, the carrier shared with Travel + Leisure this week. The funds will then be distributed to several nonprofits, including Airlink, which transports relief workers and emergency supplies.
“Airlink serves all of those countries, serves dozens of NGOs, and you can’t serve the people if you can’t get the service providers and the whatever it is — food, water, medical aid, whatever — to the sites, and that is what Airlink does,” Kosman said, “and that’s what drew me to them because they affected everyone in every country that is serving the refugees of Ukraine.”