Iberia Helps Peru Earthquake Victims

Site in Pisco after the 2007 Peru Earthquake - photo by Telegraph.co.uk

August 15, 2007 18:41 local time: the date of a deadly earthquake with an epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of central Peru, South of the capital, Lima. The towns most hit by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake were Chincha, Ica, Canete and Pisco. Having visited Peru about 8 months ago, I have passed through Ica and Pisco on our bus-ride from the Nazca lines back to Lima, so it was especially saddening to hear the news about the earthquake. I find it interesting how you are moved more by events happening at a place that you have visited before. I think that’s part of the reason why September 11 really shocked the world, as so many people could connect the pictures with their personal memories/experiences about NYC… But back to the earthquake: besides about 30.000 families left homeless due to their traditional adobe-brick homes having been collapsed, more than 500 people are reported to be dead, 200 of them in Pisco alone, where the main Catholic church collapsed while a mass was taking place. Even in Lima (home to 8 million people), which is about 150 kilometers North from the epicenter 2 people died when many of the buildings shook. (Reuters Photo gallery about the earthquake.)

Many organizations began to help almost immediately, among them the UN, the Lutheran World Relief, OPEC and also an airline: Iberia. Iberia is famous for focusing on routes between Latin America and Europe, so it’s understandable that they moved soon to help the victims at one of the countries served by the airline. A total of 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid is planned to be shipped by the Spanish member of oneworld in the coming days, the first portion included 10,000 kg on the flight on 22AUG taking off from Madrid at 12:40. I took the exact same flight (IB 6651) before Christmas, which was an A340-600, that is capable of carrying some 55 tones of payload, so the 10 tones should easily fit in the belly of the plane. But where is all this aid coming from? According to Iberia: The aid was contributed by individuals and numerous Spanish firms and organisations, including Farmamundi, an NGO that distributes pharmaceuticals to developing countries; the Fundación Coca-Cola, supplying isotonic beverages; Panaderos sin fronteras (“Bakers without Borders”); the cheese company Quesos Campo Real which is sending nutritionally enhanced cheese; Europac, the largest packaging firm on the Iberian Peninsula, which supplied 150 packing cases to ship the air materials, and whose employees supplied another 150 cases. The shipment was collected and coordinated by Iberia and “Mano a Mano,” and which also contributed aid materials. (Mano a Mano is a relief organisation founded by Iberia employees in 1994 to collect and deliver relief and aid materials to countries and regions in need which are served by the airline, using empty hold space and unused flight crew baggage allowances.) The first air shipment also included food rations, especially infant food, drinking water; water purification equipment, medicines, especially for bronchial illness, blankets, sleeping bags, and long-life battery lamps. Another 20,000 kg of aid will be sent in later shipments in Iberia’s cargo holds.

It’s good to know that in general airlines tend to provide aid or material help (mostly cargo hold or free seats for rescue workers) in such situations, like Iberia did this time to ease the terrible situation in Peru.

by balint01

3 Responses to “Iberia Helps Peru Earthquake Victims”

  1. 1 Chaya August 24, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Latest Mission Follows Long History of Global Aid

    Timeline of Israel’s Humanitarian Efforts

    Israel this week sent a team of six medical personnel and airlifted almost two tons of medicine and medical equipment Monday to Pisco, Peru, to aid the victims of the earthquake that struck the country on Aug. 15. [1] [2] In addition, the Israeli Foreign Ministry donated $20,000 to purchase blankets and tents for the disaster victims. [3] The 8.0-magnitude earthquake left 503 people dead and 1,042 others injured. It also destroyed 34,410 homes, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless. [4]

    The six medical personnel traveled to Peru on behalf of FIRST (Fast Israel Rescue and Search Team), an umbrella organization for Israeli emergency teams, as well as IsraAID (Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid). Their trip was sponsored by two organizations, B’nai Brith International and the Israeli branch of the American Jewish Committee. [5]

    This is not the first time Israel has taken the initiative to help disaster victims. Israel began organizing humanitarian efforts through MASHAV, the Center for International Cooperation, [6] 10 years after the state was founded. Since then, Israel has extended humanitarian aid to more than 140 countries including Bosnia & Herzegovina, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Venezuela. [7]

  2. 2 szafi August 24, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Hello Chaya,

    it is true, Israel is always there when it comes to humanitarian actions. And we support everyone who is on that track. That is why we felt it is worth an article that Iberia as an airline initiated and conducted such a human aid.
    Evereybody is welcome on our site who is up for that!

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