Haitian Relief Efforts
In lieu of a post today, here are some links regarding the situation in Haiti, with a focus on aviation.
These photographs are not easy to look at but helped me to understand the scale of the devastation.
Earthquake in Haiti – The Big Picture – Boston.com
Tuesday afternoon, January 12th, the worst earthquake in 200 years – 7.0 in magnitude – struck less than ten miles from the Caribbean city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The initial quake was later followed by twelve aftershocks greater than magnitude 5.0. Structures of all kinds were damaged or collapsed, from shantytown homes to national landmarks. It is still very early in the recovery effort, but millions are likely displaced, and thousands are feared dead as rescue teams from all over the world are now descending on Haiti to help where they are able. As this is a developing subject, I will be adding photos to this entry over the next few days, but at the moment, here is a collection of photos from Haiti over the past 24 hours.
A member of the U.S. State Dept. Haiti Task Force said the U.S. Coast Guard was operating flights into the airport that were controlled from a USCG cutter operating in the bay outside the city.
January 14, United States Air Force Special Tactics personnel were on the ground controlling airport operations at Toussaint L’Ouverture International, Haiti, but the ramp area was already saturated with 44 aircraft, forcing a temporary closure. The airport operates a control tower, two fuel trucks and one 9,974-foot runway. The control tower was rendered useless by the January 12 earthquake. Initial aid flights arrived using the UNICOM frequency to organize themselves, then by a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter off the coast. But two days later, the airspace was closed, turning away 11 aircraft that had been waiting for other flights to depart so they could land. Among those turned away was a C-130 from the 15th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla.. With ground damage hindering the expedient dispersion of supplies, and physical space preventing further arrivals, departures were at the same time beginning to be challenged by a dwindling fuel supply. The American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson had by Thursday been dispatched to the region, primarily looking at providing increased helicopter capacity in the afflicted area.
The January 12 earthquake that struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, leveled much of of the capital city and crippled the country’s infrastructure, including water pipelines. With the Haitian airport operating at capacity, the USS Carl Vinson will be able to provide helicopters for aid distribution and emergency air lift operations, including moving construction equipment to areas unreachable by now destroyed roads. First estimates from the American Red Cross listed the potential dead tally at 45,000-50,000.
Air Care Alliance has a Listing of Organizations with volunteers flying to help others.
Although Operation Teacup is not in this list (and I don’t know them personally), their website struck me as up-to-the-minute and with a clear plan.
Operation Teacup organises volunteer efforts for pilots and aircraft owners. They are concentrating their efforts on relief flights to the Eluthera, Bahamas staging area for ferry flights to Haiti. At the moment they are trying to collect 400 pilot / aircraft owners to volunteer to help with transport.
Single engine airplanes are useful for transporting supplies into Governor’s Harbour Airport in the Bahamas from Venice, Florida. For flights to Haiti, multi-engine airplanes are required.
If you want to offer transportation and/or flying skills, you can volunteer directly with your details and home airfield. Aircraft owners should include plane registration, pilot certificate number, useful load and runway needed for take-off at gross weight.
You can find details of the route planning on the Haiti information page on the Operation Teacup site.
Note that Craig Fuller from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association recommends donating the cost of a flight in wake of Haiti earthquake.
Alternatively, we encourage pilots to consider donating the cost of a flight to Haiti in their GA aircraft to an established organization that is helping with the relief efforts. To help you determine the cost, we’ve calculated the flight time from Florida’s Miami International to Port-au-Prince for various GA aircraft. For aircraft with cruise speeds of 110 knots, the flight would take 5.5 hours; 140-knot cruise speed, 4.5 hours; and 160-knot cruise speed, 4 hours. The average price of avgas this week is $4.61 a gallon.