On Friday, May 8, an Airbus 310-300F loaded with 33 tons of humanitarian aid left Dubai for Kathmandu. This is the first time Handicap International chartered an entire airplane to deliver emergency aid on such a scale.
The plane was packed with more than 500 emergency kits to provide families who have lost everything with sheets, cooking utensils and hygiene kits. Families will also be given “cold weather” kits and tents. In total, 500 families will benefit from this equipment. In addition, the plane included rehabilitation equipment, kits with orthoses such as braces, mobility devices such as crutches, walking frames and wheelchairs for the injured. Such equipment had already been in place in Nepal, and reinforced with previous cargo flown in since the start of Handicap International’s emergency operations on April 25.
“We have conducted large-scale operations in humanitarian disaster situations, such as in Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines and Syria, but this is the first time that we have chartered an entire plane in aid of disaster victims,” explains Hélène Robin, the head of Handicap International’s emergency operations. “This underlines the scale of our operation in Nepal, which is designed to respond to the needs we have identified, and our determination to help people affected by the earthquake as quickly as possible.”
Handicap International has storage facilities in France near Lyon, and in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot, close to Dubai airport, where we store different types of pre-packed kits, which are ready to be sent into the field during a disaster. They include kits of essential items, such as emergency shelters, bedding, hygiene, and cooking equipment, to which a winter option may be added. We also store kits for opening emergency rehabilitation centers, for the distribution of walking aids, and for the fitting of emergency orthoses, which are packed in such a way as to be loaded directly onto a plane in the event of an emergency.