ETIHAD AIRWAYS' EFFORTS FOR FLOOD RELIEF
Oct 4 - 10, 2010
Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based in Abu Dhabi. Recently, it has come forth to provide humanitarian assistance to the flood affectees in Pakistan. According to United Nations estimates, these floods have affected over 20 million people and caused widespread damage to public infrastructure, as numerous bridges were swept away and important road networks were submerged. Many schools and hospitals were also severely damaged.
The inaugural flight Etihad Crystal Cargo's new A330-200 freighter aircraft carried 59 tons of humanitarian aid to Karachi, during August. It was a special charter flight, carrying medical and humanitarian supplies, especially for the flood victims in Pakistan.
This summer, the heaviest monsoon rains had hit Pakistan, causing severe floods throughout the country. In the aftermath of these torrential rains, the rivers breached many embankments in various regions and flooded a substantial portion of the country. Till mid-September, more flooding and subsequent displacements are still occurring throughout the southern parts of Sindh province.
Etihad continued its air logistical support for flood relief, by carrying another 58.5 tons of relief cargo to Islamabad, which was donated by the Norwegian Church Aid. Etihad Airways' CEO, James Hogan has expressed his commitment to extend maximum support to overcome this massive devastation. As the UAE and Pakistan have very close ties, the national airline of UAE has pledged a relief initiative to enable the displaced families to return to their normal lives.
The UN has reported that affected families in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are slowly moving back to their hometowns and villages. The displaced families from Balochistan and Sindh still face major hindrances in returning to their inundated homes. Rebuilding the damaged and destroyed homes is the next phase, where they will need sizeable financial assistance and physical support. The flood victims will also need a sustained relief program till they fully resume their normal life with respectable livelihood options.
Keeping in view the level of destruction, the airline is committed to continue providing air logistical support and relief assistance to the Pakistan authorities and agencies working in the flood hit areas.
The airline also donated two tickets to a local group of volunteers - V Need U - to help raise funds for their flood relief project in interior Sindh. A special lucky-draw and prize distribution ceremony is also being organised in Karachi during early October and will be attended by Etihad's management and its brand ambassadors "Strings".
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, Etihad Airways joined the IDPs to share the joys of this holy festival with their unfortunate brethren. Etihad Airways also joined hands with the Emirates International Mobile Humanitarian Hospital for Children (EIMHH), to distribute Eid gifts among children living in the Razzakabad relief camp near Karachi.
With these gift packages, Etihad simply wanted to remind the children that the Muslim community cares for them in this hour of grief. EIMHH doctors, nurses, and other staff worked side by side with Etihad to distribute toys, clothes and other essential items.
The EIMH Hospital continues to support the flood victims with its focus on the prevention and treatment of children's diseases. It's well-equipped, truck-mounted medical facilities keep traveling throughout the Sindh region offering free medical care, ICU, diagnostics, pharmacy and other services. Its qualified doctors and staff members belong to Canada, France, UAE and Pakistan, Syria and the Philippines. These are commendable efforts from Etihad to work closely with the Pakistani relief authorities to transfer medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the country.
Immediately after the calamity hit the country, Etihad Airways had set up a special bank account in National Bank of Abu Dhabi, where the company's employees could send in their donations from all over the globe.
During the first week of October, delegates from Etihad's UAE office will be coming for another visit to the EIMH Hospital facilities at Razzakabad Relief Camp. This team will be accompanied by Etihad's Brand Ambassadors ñ the famous pop-rock band "Strings". During this visit, these delegates will donate medical equipments worth more than AED 30,000. The funds for this equipment have been collected through employee contributions.
A humanitarian assistance group working under the title of "Pakistan Flood Relief-Dubai" has recently arrived in Islamabad from the UAE, where they will conduct major rehabilitation activities. This philanthropic trip has been sponsored by Etihad. This group has abundant experience in rehabilitation efforts and has been in contact with residents/local NGO's on the ground. It is fully aware of the most critical items needed and the waterborne diseases that are posing major threats for the victims. The group is also supported by the community of the UAE. So far three shipments full of emergency goods have been loaded already; two of which have already arrived in Pakistan.
World champion boxer Amir Khan had also come out in support of Oxfam's campaign to raise $US6 million for an urgent relief effort to aid people hit by the floods in Pakistan. Amir's travel was supported by Etihad Airways to make sure his comfortable arrival for the subsequent busy schedule, help building up awareness about the floods here and raising more funds.
Oxfam's Pakistan Director Neva Khan said, "This is the worst flooding in living memory and it's likely to get worse as rivers and dams reach dangerous levels. We are extremely grateful for Etihad Airways' support and assistance by bringing Amir to Pakistan - as this has enabled our projects to reach out to a larger audience."
Other resourceful companies should gain inspiration from these commendable efforts from Etihad Airways. There is a need to work closely with the Pakistani relief authorities to donate and transfer medical supplies and humanitarian aid throughout the country.