PDRF and AirAsia Staff en route to Southern Leyte to distribute relief packages to affected communities

AirAsia flies to the rescue; offers free seats to humanitarian community, PDRF, and free cargo space for relief goods

AirAsia, the world’s best low-cost airline, offered free seats this week to humanitarian aid staff working on Typhoon Odette (Rai) relief efforts, including those from the UN and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation. In addition, the airline, through its logistics arm Teleport, offered free cargo space for relief goods going to badly hit destinations.

“On behalf of the board of AirAsia, I would like to send a message of hope and sympathies to the victims of typhoon Odette. The Allstar family is alwaysREDy to go all out in helping our fellow Filipinos during this hour of need,” said AirAsia CEO Ricky Isla.

AirAsia has a long record of supporting organizations that provide relief to communities in crisis, including the floods that swept several Malaysian states earlier this week.  During disasters, logistics assistance is crucial to ensure that all immediate needs of affected communities get there when they are most needed. It also has its corporate social responsibility umbrella program alwaysREDy: anytime, anywhere through which it partnered with organizations like Operation Smile Philippines and Asilo de San Vicente de Paul.

“I would like to congratulate and express our deep appreciation for the work of the Filipino private sector for the Typhoon Odette response, coming together in this time of crisis and working hand-in-hand with humanitarian responders. Considering logistics remains one of key challenges in accessing the most affected islands, the AirAsia offer of free seats for humanitarian aid workers and free cargo space to reach the most affected areas is critical and indeed life-saving”, said Manja Vidic, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines.

“There are many kinds of love, and AirAsia’s generosity is one form of love that symbolizes the true spirit of Christmas and giving,” said PDRF President Butch Meily.

Typhoon Odette entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility last December 14 and has left a trail of destruction in its wake bringing torrential rains, violent winds, landslides, and storm surges. It made nine landfalls in the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negro Oriental, and Palawan before exiting in the West Philippines Sea.

According to a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as of December 22, more than 1.3 million individuals have been affected by the typhoon in Regions 4-B, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, and BARMM. More than half a million people have been displaced, with many seeking shelter in more than 2,500 evacuation centers around the country.

NDRMMC also reported a total of 15,618 damaged houses, an estimated Php 320 million worth of damages to agriculture, and Php 220 million in infrastructure in the affected regions.

PDRF is currently rallying the resources of its private sector network, AirAsia included, to gather all the needed aid for the affected population.

Immediate needs include food packs and ready-to-eat meals, drinking water, medicine and medical personnel, personal protective equipment (PPE), clothing (including footwear and rain gear), cooking equipment and utensils, family kits with sleeping materials, shelter materials, hygiene kits, disaster kits, and go-bags.

PDRF is the primary vehicle for private sector support during emergencies and is headed by co-chairs Manuel V. Pangilinan, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. As an alliance of businesses dedicated to building the disaster management capabilities of the private sector in the country, it works on all areas: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation and recovery.

For more information on how to support communities affected by Typhoon Odette, please visit: https://www.pdrf.org/how-you-can-help/