TNT flies largest relief airlift to RP

Brings 200-MT WFP emergency rations Free


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TNT country general manager Cetin Yalcin (left) and WFP country director Stephen Anderson inspect the 100-ton shipment of high-energy biscuits at the airport. Rudy Santos

TNT and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have mounted the largest airlift of food relief to the Philippines todate, flying in a total of 200 metric tons of high-energy biscuits for victims of the recent floods.

Already, a 100 metric ton shipment arrived on October 17, 2009 with a second 100 metric tons arriving next week, on October 24.

The food assistance will be loaded from Izmir, Turkey, and will be flown to the Philippines onboard TNT’s Boeing 747-400 Extended Range Freighter. The freighter was diverted from its regular return flight from Liege in Belgium to Hong Kong to perform the humanitarian mission.

Most of the 200 tons of biscuits, which have been fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, will be used in supplementary feeding programmes to enhance the nutritional health of pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five years old. In cooperation with the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development, WFP will target the biscuits to areas worst hit by flooding.

“Thousands of young mothers and children are going to benefit as a result of this generous gesture on the part of TNT,” according to Stephen Anderson, WFP Country Director in the Philippines. “We owe TNT an enormous debt of gratitude for providing this service, which will save us close to $750,000 in shipping cost. We are also grateful to the Government of Australia, who provided WFP with US$1.75 million in cash, part of which has been used to purchase the biscuits.”

Right after super typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng (international names Ketsana and Parma, respectively) devastated parts of the country causing massive loss of lives, properties, crops and livelihoods, WFP immediately initiated relief activities for the victims. Working closely with the WFP, TNT processed incoming shipments at the airport last October 2 and used seven trucks to transport 40 tons of food aid to the affected areas. To date, TNT is on stand-by to transport more relief materials as determined by the WFP.

In addition, TNT coordinated with WFP in bringing in more food aid to the Philippines. “This new shipment was coordinated in a short period,” confirmed country general manager of TNT in the Philippines Cetin Yalcin.

“We obtained approval from our head offices Tuesday morning and in a couple of days, the supplier started production and we’re flying our B747. It was fast.”

While the shipment will prioritize the victims of the recent calamities in the Philippines, Yalcin says that TNT and WFP’s humanitarian assistance does not stop there. The two partners are present and active around the globe.

In the past few months, TNT and WFP also granted relief efforts to the victims of various catastrophes in Asia. The two organizations provided 50 tons of high energy biscuits to Indonesia for the affected families by the earthquake that struck the coast of Padang. In India, monetary donations for relief materials were allocated for those affected by the heavy rains that caused flash floods throughout Kartnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The partnership between TNT and WFP started in 2002. So far, the logistics firm has contributed around US$50 million worth of support to WFP’s efforts worldwide.

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