Panalpina flies UNICEF relief to Burundi - Global Trade Magazine
  December 14th, 2015 | Written by

Panalpina flies UNICEF relief to Burundi

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  • With the withdrawal of government aid, UNICEF expects social services for children in Burundi will be severely impacted.
  • Easily preventable and treatable diseases are often responsible for the tragic deaths of children in Burundi.
  • The current crisis in Burundi has led to an acute shortage of medication and hospital equipment.

For the third consecutive year, UNICEF and Panalpina have joined forces to fly much-needed relief goods to an African country where a recurring crisis is taking a heavy toll on society and its weakest members: children.

Violence and a shortage of essential drugs pose major risks to their health. In the morning hours, a Panalpina chartered cargo aircraft delivered 70 tons of primary medical care goods to Burundi.

“These relief goods can save the lives of thousands of children,” said Elsbeth Mueller, executive director of the Swiss committee for UNICEF. “On behalf of UNICEF, I deeply thank Panalpina for their help.”

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. The small, landlocked country in East Africa, which has known cycles of recurring violence since its independence, plunged into crisis again in April 2015. The current crisis has so far left more than 200 people dead, with more than 200,000 Burundians crossing borders to seek safe shelter in neighboring countries.

While violence flares and nightly raids continue, children are increasingly under threat. As half of Burundi’s population, they have been suffering disproportionately from the surge in violence.

With the withdrawal of bilateral aid by numerous donor governments, UNICEF expects that social services for children, in particular health care and education, will be severely impacted over the coming months.

Nearly one child out of ten dies before age five. Easily preventable and treatable diseases including pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria are often responsible for these tragic deaths. The current crisis has led to an acute shortage of medication and hospital equipment, and a timely supply of essential drugs for quick treatment is therefore critical to improve child health and survival in Burundi.

“This is the third time that Panalpina is partnering with UNICEF to address a crisis in Africa,” said Peter Ulber, Panalpina’s CEO. “And again we hope that our contribution will bring some respite to those who are less fortunate than us, especially the many affected children in Burundi.”

The idea for the Panalpina relief flights came about in 2013 during discussions about the company’s traditional Christmas gifts for customers and employees. It was decided that a charitable donation in the form of an aircraft charter for UNICEF would be of more value.

Last year, Panalpina supported the fight against Ebola by flying life-saving humanitarian aid to Sierra Leone. In 2013, Panalpina’s first relief flight for UNICEF brought desperately needed goods to the Central African Republic.