British Airways and IAG Cargo are flying 34 tonnes of emergency aid to Islamabad, Pakistan, following the devastating humanitarian crisis caused by floods across the country. More than 33 million people (around 15% of Pakistan’s population), have been affected by the floods and nearly half a million people have been displaced. The government of Pakistan estimates that a third of the country, an area the size of the UK, is underwater. Schools, roads, crops and livelihoods have been devastated and conditions are expected to worsen as the rains continue, leaving communities without food, clean drinking water and shelter.
The largest consignment of aid that has been flown out, more than eight tonnes, was transported on Sunday 25 September, including non-perishable food, tents, clothing and much needed medical supplies. The flight was operated by a team of specially selected cabin crew who all have a personal connection to Pakistan. All aid, carried for free by British Airways and IAG Cargo, has been donated by key charity partners, including Football for Peace and Khalsa Aid. A further 21 tonnes of aid will be flown to Pakistan over the next few weeks. In addition to sending aid supplies, the airline has also been working with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help aid workers get to Pakistan to help with the crisis.
Carrie Harris, British Airways’ Director of Sustainability, said:
“We’re all deeply saddened by the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan and our thoughts are with everyone affected. As well as working with IAG Cargo to offer the free transportation of vital emergency aid, we have also redirected the funds raised from our onboard collection envelopes to support the relief efforts in Pakistan. In just four weeks our customers and colleagues have generously helped raise more than £176,000 for the DEC’s Pakistan Flood Appeal. Colleagues across the airline have been donating via Payroll Giving. We’re continuing to work through all our community investment channels to offer further support where it’s needed.”
John Cheetham, Chief Commercial Officer at IAG Cargo, added:
“We have all seen the devastating impact of the horrendous floods in Pakistan that are impacting the lives of so many. The air cargo industry has always played a key role in providing the rapid response humanitarian crises require and I’m pleased that with the support of the teams at IAG Cargo, British Airways, and charities including Khalsa Aid and Football for Peace we’re able to contribute towards the significant relief being given to those in need.”
British Airways’ BA Better World sustainability programme includes a commitment to build on the airline’s long track record of community investment including helping communities with this sort of emergency response. For more than 30 years, the airline has supported projects and charities in times of crisis across the world, including working with the Disasters Emergency Committee since 2013 to raise more than £1.7 million and raising upwards of £26 million for Comic Relief through Flying Start with the help of customers and colleagues.