Air Transport Response in Disasters

by Abubakar Shoaib
Aviation in Disaster

In times of crisis, hunger, and conflict, air services play a crucial role in helping people. In circumstances where natural hazards, permanent war, or weak road infrastructures block other entry methods, they are especially relevant. The delivery of food, medical equipment, and search and rescue services requires air travel. The commercial air transport infrastructure offers considerable funding for these efforts, while military or specialized air services do so. Airports are being critical hubs for the delivery and relief of aircraft, freight, and refugees. Airlines help to evacuate disasters or war stranded individuals.

UNHAS Initiatives

The UN Food Program (WFP), which provides relief workers in particular with remote and rugged areas, is coordinated by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to evacuate disasters. Air transport operations are vital, as there is often a limit to access to conflicts and catastrophic areas due to a lack of security, poor road infrastructure, and remote sites. UNHAS regularly carries 27,000 passengers and more than 220 tons of light freight a month to 285 destinations through the flight of 14 central, western, East African, Yemen and Afghanistan countries. The UN and international assistance agency staff also use these flights.

Supporting Charities in Disasters

In the fields of corporate charitable work, several airlines, hotels, utility companies, and suppliers are involved. Many donate at an organization and a personal level as disasters occur. Aviation companies provide logistical assistance and the opportunity to respond swiftly to emergencies and are essential partners of aid organizations and governments. When the TV cameras go home, the tragedy does not stop. The re-establishment of scheduled air transport services is always carried out for months and even years after the catastrophe is an essential part of this region’s economic and social re-establishment. A variety of airlines are continuously in contact with each other.

To help UNICEF’s global Change for Good campaign, cabin crew and airline personnel worldwide have raised more than USD 160 million unused currency from passengers since 1987. The shift for Good is targeted at minimizing the number of preventable deaths, and UNICEF has saved nearly 16,000 more lives per day than it could save using generous donations in 1990. The Change for Good Programme is run by ten airlines worldwide.

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