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Panalpina donates relief flight to Central African Republic

By Staff Reports on December 19, 2013

Panalpina used a Boeing 747-8 freighter to fly needed relief goods to the Central African Republic.

The 100-tonne load was organized in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund and the donated charter flew Wednesday from Luxembourg into Bangui, the nation’s capital.

With increasing numbers of people displaced by violence across the Central African Republic, growing needs will exceed available emergency supplies in the coming weeks, UNICEF said.

The CAR is facing a dire humanitarian situation that affects the entire population of 4.6 million people, according to UNICEF. Gross human rights violations take place almost daily and include the destruction and looting of hospitals, schools, homes and churches.

Bangui M’Poko International Airport is also a target with heavy fighting around the facility a regular occurrence. French troops try to keep the site secure but this, along with the very modest infrastructure at the airport, added to the challenge and meant a quick turnaround was crucial to the success of the mission.

UNICEF’s relief goods delivered to the CAR included hospital supplies and equipment, medicines, clothes, tents, sleeping mats, bed nets, blankets, water containers, soap and cooking sets.

The idea for the Panalpina chartered flight came about when discussing the company’s traditional Christmas gift-giving for its customers and employees. It was decided that a donation in the form of an aircraft charter would be of more value.

“Christmas is a time to reflect on the privileges we enjoy and perhaps don’t always fully appreciate. We hope this contribution will bring some respite to those less fortunate than ourselves,” Panalpina CEO Peter Ulber said. “This charter required us to deploy our aircraft quickly and safely under very challenging conditions to a remote location. I am thankful to everyone who made it a success.”