Overcoming transport challenges in the world of humanitarian action is often overlooked. Reaching nations in crisis and families in need with life-changing aid is a challenging endeavor. However, on December 18, Panalpina’s Boeing 747-8 Freighter flew to the Central African Republic (CAR) carrying about 100 tons of UNICEF’s aid to a country in crisis.
UNICEF recently reminded the world that with increasing numbers of people displaced by violence across the Central African Republic growing needs will exceed available emergency supplies in the coming weeks.
According to UNICEF, the CAR is facing a dire humanitarian situation that affects the entire population of 4.6 million people. Gross human rights violations take place almost daily and include the destruction and looting of hospitals, schools, homes and churches. Bangui airport is also a target with heavy fighting around the facility a regular occurrence. French troops try to keep the site secure but this, along with the very modest infrastructure at the airport, added to the challenge and meant a quick turnaround was crucial to the success of the mission.
UNICEF’s relief goods delivered to the CAR included hospital supplies and equipment, medicines, clothes, tents, sleeping mats, bed nets, blankets, water containers, soap and cooking sets.
The idea for the Panalpina chartered flight came about when discussing the company’s traditional Christmas gift-giving for its customers and employees. It was decided that a charitable donation in the form of an aircraft charter would be of more value.
“Christmas is a time to reflect on the privileges we enjoy and perhaps don’t always fully appreciate. We hope this contribution will bring some respite to those less fortunate than ourselves,” says Panalpina CEO Peter Ulber. “This charter required us to deploy our aircraft quickly and safely under very challenging conditions to a remote location. I am thankful to everyone who made it a success.”