We speak to Marta López Fesser, Head of Corporate Partnerships of UNICEF Spain about the situation in Haiti following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last August that left 650,000 people – including 260,000 children – in dire need of humanitarian assistance and discuss how Iberia and IAG Cargo have transported vital aid toward the relief effort.
Can you describe the situation in Haiti following the earthquake and how UNICEF is involved?
UNICEF is on the ground before, during and after any international emergency and, as we’ve been working in Haiti for a number of years, we have the experience to give the best response to disasters with pre-positioned supplies, and teams that have a close grasp of the situation and the needs of the population.
We triangulate these needs with national and local authorities and close the gaps in order to reach those who are most vulnerable. The situation in Haiti is quite unique, it’s one of the hardest hit countries in terms of natural disasters – as once they start to stand up, they get hit again. The country is experiencing a profoundly deep socio-economic crisis, a protracted emergency, you might say, and UNICEF provides ongoing support there together with its partners.
How does UNICEF work with IAG Cargo to ensure shipments are delivered to those who need them?
UNICEF Spain and Iberia have been strategic partners since 2013 and the recent incorporation of IAG Cargo as a key logistical facilitator is an extension of our long-standing association. Iberia’s outreach scheme with its travellers and clients has so far supported UNICEF immunisation programmes in several countries around the world to reduce infant mortality, and with great success, having vaccinated more than 1million children worldwide.
Because of Covid, and the urgent need for logistics support, we looked into strengthening our ongoing corporate partnerships and developing new ones to ensure our supplies reach those in need in the quickest way and at the lowest cost. Our conversations with Iberia led to our collaboration with IAG Cargo and we’re grateful that the group, and its excellent technical teams and experts, are supporting the relief effort.
Since this summer, with their donations, Iberia’s clients and travellers now support equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine in middle-low- and low-income countries at the same time that UNICEF Spain work hand in hand with IAG Cargo.
What aid was transported to Haiti in the shipment and how is it being used?
For now, there has been one shipment of nine high-performance tents sent to Santo Domingo, which is the first of many other shipments to come – these might include Covid vaccines and other supplies that might be needed. The high-performance tents provide a sheltered space of about 72 sqm and are incredibly versatile – they can host anything from a safe learning space and clinics, to recreation spaces. Whatever the emergency requires, they serve as shelters that can withstand the climate and weather conditions of any destination. The USP of these tents is that they can shift in function quickly to become whatever they are needed for.
And this is only the beginning of the partnership…
Yes, as soon as our Supply Division colleagues in Copenhagen identify that there is a dispatchment that needs delivery, the first thing they will look at is Iberia’s commercial routes map to determine if there is a match. If they find a synergy, the teams develop a flowchart to align the routes, departures and cargo capacity with the shipments that need moving. A lot of consultation and analysis goes into the route mapping for these shipments so that if a route is not direct to the affected area, ground and sea transit can be used as well. Our work with IAG Cargo is the start of a collaboration that will bring much needed supplies not just to Haiti, but to disaster-affected destinations the world over.
Find out more about our work with UNICEF here