With a cholera epidemic looming in Hurricane Matthew-stricken Haiti, after the storm caused over 1,000 casualties and destroyed infrastructure earlier this month, the first delivery from aviation-related humanitarian organization Airlink landed in the country. Two weeks after the storm came ashore on Oct. 4, he relief organization delivered more than 45 tonnes of critical aid, including hygiene kits, water purification equipment, pharmaceuticals, and medical and surgical supplies.
“Cholera continues to be a significant concern. These supplies are critical to addressing both the immediate and longer-term needs,” said Steven Smith, Airlink’s executive director. “Airlink now has a logistics team on the ground that will focus on supporting responding NGOs in their deployments.”
Valued at US$1.7 million dollars, the first Airlink shipment this week delivers the sort of hygiene tools to prevent outbreaks. Airlink is actively working with 11 humanitarian aid organizations to support transportation of relief workers and material aid into the affected regions.
In 2010, a cholera epidemic struck in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, killing at least 3,597 and sickening more than 340,000 in the wake of a magnitude 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Hurricane Tomas, which landed two weeks later, further eroded services and infrastructure, worsening the cholera epidemic.
Even worse, the disease was brought to Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers in 2010, who were stationed at a base that leaked waste into a river. Whichever organizations step up to address this continuing Hurricane Matthew disaster will operate under more scrutiny, both from locals and the international press.
Airlink is a rapid-response disaster and humanitarian relief organization that links pre-qualified nonprofits with partner airlines for passenger and cargo transportation. Since its inception in 2010, Airlink’s airline partners have flown over 4,000 passengers and transported approximately 2,500,000 pounds of aid cargo.