Disaster logistics nonprofit Airlink has launched an air bridge from the U.S. to Haiti transporting humanitarian aid to the Caribbean Island on behalf of aid agencies working to overcome transport constraints and security concerns.
Funding for the Airlink air bridge comes from a USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) grant to provide at least two charter flights a month until the end of January, says a release from Airlink.
“In-kind freight forwarding (cargo pick-up coordination, ground transportation and warehousing) has been provided by Airlink partner SEKO Logistics.”
Humanitarian agencies have struggled to get life-saving aid to the island due to transport costs and escalating gang violence, which have impacted maritime ports, road access, and overall security, the release added. “Air charter prices have increased 160 percent in the last six years and an estimated 200 gangs operate across Haiti with around 95 operating in the capital Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, the island’s population is dealing with an ongoing humanitarian emergency and the impact of multiple disasters, including the instability caused by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and a deadly earthquake in 2021.
“An outbreak of cholera is the latest disaster to hit the Haitian people. There are more than 18,000 suspected cases amongst the population with 30 percent of those comprising children under the age of nine. The country’s health system is struggling to cope. Of the 22 local health institutions, only six are fully functioning. The first two air bridge flights departed from Miami International Airport carrying 88 tonnes of aid including medical supplies, IV fluids, water purification supplies, and clean water filtration equipment to help address the cholera crisis.”
Lana Oh, Disaster Assistance Response Team lead in Haiti, USAID says: “As humanitarian needs persist and a cholera epidemic threatens the health and wellbeing of the Haitian people, USAID is working to get life-saving aid to those who need it most. We are proud to partner with Airlink to create this vital airbridge to Haiti to save lives and alleviate suffering caused by this ongoing humanitarian crisis and cholera epidemic.”
Stephanie Steege, Director of Programme, Airlink adds: “The situation in Haiti is deteriorating rapidly and the human need is huge. Unfortunately, it has become a forgotten disaster. This air bridge is critically needed to get aid into Haiti but we could not have done it without the support of SEKO Logistics and grant funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the American people.”
The first two chartered flights through Airlink’s air bridge supported the movement of aid on behalf of aid agencies CARE Haiti, the Dalton Foundation, Food for the Poor, Partners in Health, and the World Health Organization, the release added.
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