Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Air Freight Carrier Shifts Much Needed Disaster Relief Cargo for Free

Virgin Atlantic Steps Up to Help with Aid for Typhoon Haiyan Victims
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – UK – The problem always faced by those responding to disaster is the short term memory which is a symptom of how the press tends to lump together the resultant human misery with other current affairs matters. Fortunately, even six months after the horrifying devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan one company in the air freight industry has been able to help those still suffering the aftermath of the storm as Virgin Atlantic Cargo stepped up to approach the UNICEF and Save the Children charities to offer capacity to the islands free of charge aboard four aircraft heading out from the UK for routine maintenance.

Shipments destined for UNICEF staff on the ground in the Philippines and the country’s Department of Health included hospital equipment, water purification tablets and life-saving drugs to treat malaria, bacterial infections and diarrhoea. The flights also carried kits for midwives to help mothers give birth safely and protect their babies in the first months of life, crucial drugs and medicines, including amoxicillin to help fight off bacterial infections, and medical equipment that helped Save the Children re-equip and run mobile health units and hospitals in affected areas.

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, claiming over 6,000 lives and leaving 1.7 million people homeless and Paul Ainslie of Save the Children thanked the carrier for its assistance which he confirmed made a real difference, saying:

“We want to extend a massive thank you to the team at Virgin Atlantic Cargo for the extraordinary help and support they provided to us with the cargo flights to the Philippines. The latest flight carried medical supplies and this will have an incredible impact in terms of supporting families and saving lives.”

The difference made to the population of the islands goes far beyond the 17,000 children given support to help them cope with the impact the typhoon has had on them and their families and David Bull, UNICEF UK’s Executive Director explained the vast scope of assistance the charities had been able to provide, saying:

“Children are still suffering as a result of typhoon Haiyan which devastated the Philippines six months ago. We are so grateful to Virgin Atlantic Airlines for providing space on their flights so that UNICEF can continue to get lifesaving supplies to those in desperate need. Since the typhoon hit, UNICEF has vaccinated over one million children against killer diseases, provided safe water to nearly one million people and delivered school equipment to nearly half a million children.”

Virgin Atlantic’s continued support for Save the Children’s Typhoon Haiyan Response has helped the charity to provide 3,500 children with Vitamin A to boost their immune system and protect them against blindness, and for 2,789 children to be vaccinated against measles and 3,000 against polio. Simon Porter, Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s Operations Manager, Heathrow, said:

“It is six months since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and its tragic consequences led to a global relief effort and public donations as a result of news coverage and appeals straight after the storm. However, the relief effort carries on long after the media leave and organisations such as UNICEF and Save the Children continue to do an outstanding job helping the long-term victims. We are pleased that we had the opportunity to help them in their vital work.”