Pace quickens to airlift humanitarian aid to Nepal

Nepal 2Humanitarian response organizations from around the globe are trying to speed up the air transport of relief supplies and aid workers to Nepal following the April 25, 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Efforts have been slow because the Kathmandu International Airport, in the nation’s capital, is a difficult airport to access, requiring specific training of flight crews, and it was also damaged in the earthquake.

Financial support is needed to get critical cargo into the area, so Airlink, an organization that brings pre-qualified nonprofits together with partner airlines, is asking for help as it attempts to raise US$250,000. So far almost $105,000 has been raised. Another way to help is by donating accumulated frequent flyer miles to Airlink.  It will take 85,000 miles to get one relief worker to Nepal. Those wishing to make donations of dollars or frequent flyer miles can visit the Nepal Earthquake Response page on Airlink’s website.  Carriers that have available aircraft can assist by emailing

The Airbus Foundation, in coordination with the French government’s Crisis Center, is sending 50 humanitarian staff, 21 tonnes of food and medical aid from Paris to Kathmandu via a 350XWB test aircraft.

The aircraft left Paris and landed in Kathmandu Wednesday, April 29, with nutritious food provided by Action contre la Faim, medical equipment from Médecins du Monde, emergency freight on behalf of Pompiers du Rhône, and a total of 25 humanitarian-aid workers, six medical personnel, and two people from the French Foreign Ministry.

Airbus and the Airbus Foundation are also working with Nepal Airlines towards using an A320 currently being delivered to the airline from Hamburg, to transport medical supplies and NGO personnel to Kathmandu. The flight should leave Hamburg before the end of this week.

Last weekend, Airbus helicopters, through its Foundation, already started working with humanitarian agencies in order to provide helicopter-based services, aimed at saving lives and safely transporting passengers within the affected areas.

Airbus’ Defense and Space division has acquired Pléiades satellite imagery to support the International Charter and Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The data acquired will assist in assessing the damage and help rescue organizations in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The Airbus Foundation was created to facilitate charitable activities worldwide within an international network of employees and partners. The organization offers humanitarian and community support as well as youth development.

Additionally, the UPS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of UPS has pledged US$500,000 in aid for recovery efforts in Nepal. A combination of cash and in-kind support will direct urgent relief supplies to the country as well as on-the-ground logistics support.

UPS is also coordinating with Dubai’s International Humanitarian City partner organizations, and the foundation is working closely with the United Nations Logistics Cluster and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to identify next steps, once long-term recovery needs are identified.

Richard Smith, director of freight at air charter service Air Partner, said that ever since the quake hit, his company’s Freight, Commercial Jets and Emergency Planning teams “have been working around the clock” to arrange charter flights bringing in search-and-rescue teams, shelter materials and medicines to Kathmandu and the surrounding areas. “On behalf of a wide range of NGO’s and several governments, we are working hard to support the international relief efforts using our extensive experience in managing passenger and cargo charters in the most challenging environments,” Smith added. “Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those who did not survive the disaster.”

Nepal’s National Emergency Coordination Center said the death toll from the quake has risen past 5,200 as of Wednesday, with more than 10,300 people being treated for injuries and millions more displaced across the mountainous country that is still suffering from multiple aftershocks.



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