Virgin Atlantic has operating a dedicated aid flight to help those affected by the earthquake in Pakistan. Working with Save The Children and The Rotary Club, Virgin Atlantic flew a Boeing 747-400 aircraft from London Gatwick to Islamabad, Pakistan with 55 tonnes of aid. Save The Children have supplied much-needed tents, tarpaulins and plastic sheeting and The Rotary Club have supplied Rotary Shelterboxes, which include a ten person tent, sleeping bags, water purification equipment, basic tools, lighting and kerosene fuelled cooking equipment. These supplies will provide vital shelter to many thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake on 8 October 2005.
Speaking from New York where he is attending The Time Global Health Summit, Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“Everybody who works for Virgin Atlantic has been shocked and saddened to see the devastation in Pakistan caused by the recent earthquake. This terrible tragedy has left thousands of families without shelter with a harsh winter fast approaching. With stocks of tents, blankets and other essential supplies now exhausted in Pakistan, Save The Children and other aid agencies have no choice but to fly these supplies in.
“Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Unite have responded to this appalling tragedy by operating an aid flight to Islamabad carrying 55 tonnes of aid including tents, tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, children’s clothing and Shelterboxes. In fact, Rotary have made available more Shelterboxes than we can carry on this flight and I am pleased to say that our friends, and great rivals, British Airways have agreed to help out by carrying Shelterboxes to Pakistan over the next few days in addition to the other aid they’ve already transported.
“We hope the British public and other British companies will continue to support the relief effort to avert a loss of life greater than the original earthquake.”
Amir Khan, World Champion boxer, commented:
“I wish Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Unite, Save the Children and The Rotary Club my personal gratitude and thanks in flying to Pakistan with the 55 tonnes of aid which has been donated by the British public and other British companies to support the relief effort in the recent devastating earthquake in Pakistan. I am sorry that I’m not going to be there. Best wishes to everyone involved and good luck and please, please ensure the aid has got out to ground level as soon as possible which will help all the families who are experiencing difficulty at this time.”