Every year, around 45 tropical cyclones hit the world. In the past 50 years alone, tropical cyclones have killed more than 700,000 people and caused greater than US$1,400 billion in damages. Aside from tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, bushfires, droughts, and armed conflict are experienced by many people worldwide.
And when disasters strike, people suffer from sickness, injuries and many other hardships, so they need whatever help they can get.
There is no doubt that humanitarian aid and relief operations serve a crucial function. And they must have the aid cargo charter support they need to reach even the remotest and the most inaccessible of afflicted communities.
Air Cargo Services Are Essential in Humanitarian Relief Operations
When natural disasters and military conflicts strike, “as soon as possible” is invariably the timeframe for humanitarian aid and relief operations.
As a case in point, when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013, it left the following devastation behind — all in less than 24 hours:
- Nearly 10 million affected
- More than four million displaced
- More than one million houses damaged or destroyed
- More than six thousand dead
In cases like these (and while Typhoon Haiyan may be one of the most disastrous typhoons ever to make landfall, it certainly is not the only one), the men, women, and children on the ground need help as soon as possible.
Fortunately, international aid is almost always immediately and overwhelmingly available. And air transport is the most efficacious means of hauling supplies from international sources.
Military Conflicts or Natural Calamities Typically Mean No Land Access
The situation is the same for those tormented by military conflicts, epidemics, wide-scale acts of terrorism, and any form of humanitarian crisis. When people lose their homes and livelihood, have no food or water, are sick, or lose their loved ones, swift and immediate response is the only option.
Unfortunately, the very things that gut villages and raze towns to the ground also often incapacitate overland supply chains. Bridges collapse, roads become impassable, and fuel supply lines get cut.
Thus, when it comes to humanitarian aid and relief operations after both military conflicts and natural calamities, aid cargo charter is often the only way to expeditiously and reasonably bring help to those who need it.
Urgency and Special Handling Requirements
Even with the COVID pandemic, air transport still plays a critical role. Land transport infrastructures may be intact, but the nature of pandemic response cargo requires quick and timely deployments.
For instance, COVID-19 vaccines not only need prompt transport. They also require special handling and equipment to ensure there is no cold chain failure. Moreover, when this all started, personal protective equipment and ventilators had to be delivered by air from a few supply hubs to all points of the globe.
And just recently, oxygen concentrators, among other supplies, had to be flown into India to alleviate the scarcity of this precious pandemic resource.
Indeed, air cargo transport services are an essential adjunct to humanitarian aid and relief operations because of the typically time-sensitive nature and the special handling requirements of aid supplies.
Carrying Precious Cargo
Aid cargo charters typically serve a critical role in the supply of the following:
Food and water top the list of aid supplies. Potable water and food are often scarce, especially in places hard-hit by natural disasters. As such, aid cargo often includes pallets of bottled water and non-perishable food items.
Clothing, Beddings, Hygiene Items
Refugee camps and evacuation sites are often short of clean clothes, tents, beddings, and hygiene supplies like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, cotton balls, alcohol and toilet paper.
Satellite-Based Communication Equipment and Devices
After typhoons, landslides, or acts of terrorism, telecom towers are likely to be down. Satellite communication for humanitarian missions is essential. Thus, aid workers and volunteers often need satellite-based communication devices and equipment flown in to fulfill their mission.
Motor Vehicles, Heavy Equipment, Generators, and Fuel
Conflict and natural disasters can leave domestic road networks unusable, cutting off aid recipients from domestic support. In such cases, there might even be a need to airlift into the target destination:
- Cargo trucks for aid distribution
- Heavy machinery for the removal of obstructions and road repairs
- Electric generators for clearing operations that require running electricity
- Fuel to power vehicles, heavy equipment, and generators
Pharmaceutical products and medical equipment are also a quintessential part of aid supplies.
This pandemic especially, PPE suits, face masks, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, autoclaves and sterilizers, oxygen tanks, and, of course, COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic drugs.
Humanitarian aid doesn’t take only the form of supplies but also humanitarian workers and volunteers. Charter planes are often called to service to transport medical and humanitarian aid workers into and evacuees out of hotspots.
Picking an Aid Cargo Charter Provider
Aid cargo charter providers supply cargo planes that humanitarian relief organizations use to transport aid supplies to their target recipient or destination. However, that’s not the only thing they should be capable of doing.
They must provide logistical support – or have the wherewithal to connect their clients to those that supply such support.
Aid cargo charter providers must have a robust network on the ground to provide relevant and impactful intelligence about ground conditions. They need to know airport and road conditions, the state of communications and electric supply, and the availability of staging facilities, among others.
As their name implies, cargo handling and transport are the most essential tasks of aid cargo charters. They must assess the special handling requirements of the cargo they’re transporting. Do they need cold chain storage? Do they require a heavy transport aircraft?
The expertise and experience of an aid cargo charter provider take center stage in this case.
Last-Mile Logistics and Coordination
Aid cargo charter providers must also have the necessary network to help their clients with clearances and last-mile delivery. While their main job is transporting supplies, the time-sensitive nature of their cargo requires prompt and streamlined post-flight logistics.
Rapid, On-Call Response
Finally, aid cargo charter providers must provide round-the-clock assistance to expedite matters, clear bottlenecks, and accommodate critical changes and requests.
Support in the Skies
Humanitarian aid and relief operations are noble undertakings. But they have unique needs and challenges.
Aid cargo charter aircraft provide them with the necessary support. Through them, humanitarian missions can deliver supplies to the remotest and the farthest destinations. And their logistical support ensures that humanitarian missions can supply timely aid to those in need.