SILVER SPRING, MD, (OCTOBER 4, 2018) – As response efforts continue for thousands of affected people hardest hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake followed by an 18-foot tsunami, which struck the town of Palu and nearby areas in central Sulawesi in Indonesia, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has received air support thanks to Airlink, a disaster response organization in Washington, DC, to assist with ongoing relief work.
Airlink has helped connect over 80 relief agencies with over 40 airlines to receive fast and efficient flight services in response to natural disasters worldwide. Airlink was able to secure airline tickets, free of charge, for an emergency response team from ADRA International to flights en route to Jakarta, Indonesia. Some team members will remain in Jakarta for a period of days, while others will be deployed to Palu.
“The ability to fly our staff members when other international humanitarian agencies are having an equally difficult time to transport anyone during the disaster is an immense help to us,” says Mario de Oliveira, emergency management director for ADRA International. “The partnership is really making a difference in fostering care to devastated communities.”
“Airlink is proud to support ADRA in times of urgent need,” says Airlink Humanitarian Programs Manager, Stephanie Steege. “Through logistical coordination and our dedicated airline partners, we’re able to move organizations like ADRA capable of providing the assistance needed in places affected by disaster.”
A Partnership Begins
In 2017, ADRA leveraged a relationship with numerous humanitarian groups, including Globus Relief, Mercy Corps, ALAN, Airlink, LIFT, Rise Against Hunger and Lutheran World Relief to host a kick-off summit forming Partnership for Humanity or P4H.
“Collaboration and coordination with partners is essential in creating a unity of response that best serves the impacted community and survivors,” says Kevin Peach, a P4H coordinator. “P4H engages cross-sector partnerships with organizations, like ADRA, that provide air, land, and logistics, sanitation needs, mass care feeding, and more. We not only have to see the need, but meet it, and that is what P4H does.”
The coordinated effort helped the relief agencies work on developing systems to improve logistics, airlifting capabilities, infrastructure and delivery of materials needed to streamline delivery of cargo to disaster sites around the world.
“During our response to Hurricane Maria, ADRA was able to provide relief supplies to St. Maarten and airlift cargo and relief workers with Airlink’s help through P4H,” says Alex Balint, senior manager for social partnerships at ADRA International.
ADRA continues to work with Airlink to deploy additional emergency responders to Indonesia.
Ongoing Efforts in Indonesia
Days after the towering tsunami pummeled northern Indonesia, providing aid has posed a challenge to affected areas as problems of looting, raids, and limited supply of water arise. Latest death toll has soared to more than 1,500 people according to disaster response officials.
“Getting clean water has been the main issue due to damaged infrastructure,” Olivera notes. “Water tank trucks are being arranged by local authorities, but there is not enough to go around for hundreds of displaced people as there is a huge shortage of fuel for transports to reach all affected.” Oliveira adds there are also concerns of hygiene and sanitary problems, as well as limited use of power to communicate.
ADRA is in talks with global partners and local authorities in Indonesia to help begin distribution of clean water, food and shelter items.