Written by Government Information Services (GIS)
The big-hearted people of the Cayman Islands sent a [Cayman Airways] plane-load of aid to hurricane-hit Haiti on Sunday (16 October 2016).
Hundreds of boxes of emergency supplies were loaded onto a Cayman Airways flight on Saturday night and then flown to Port au Prince the following morning.
Donations had been collected in a matter of just a few days following an appeal by Matthew Leslie of Cayman Islands Brewery. Stacks of goods were left at the drop-off point by Saxon Insurance in Eastern Avenue and then packed into Kingbird warehouse.
Cayman Islands Government arranged the special Cayman Airways relief flight on Sunday and organised the trip through diplomatic channels, while many other businesses and individuals donated their time and services to the appeal.
Areas of Haiti were left devastated by Hurricane Matthew which barreled through the Caribbean two weeks ago.
To ensure the goods reached those in need, the relief effort was handled by aid agency Operation Blessing International which has on-the-ground staff in Haiti.
Mr. Leslie and a five-member government delegation accompanied the aid to Haiti where it was loaded on to an Operation Blessing International truck shortly after the plane touched down. Distribution of the goods, including first aid items, hygiene and baby products, began a couple of hours later, ensuring the people in need received the emergency supplies which had been sent.
“We took 10 tons of Cayman kindness to the people of Haiti,” said Mr. Leslie. “It shows what we can all do when we set aside our differences and come together to help others in a time of crisis. A big thank you to everyone who donated supplies and to everyone who helped make this mission possible.”
The aid delivered on Sunday is only a third of the goods donated to the appeal so the rest will be soon be shipped to Haiti in containers and also distributed by Operation Blessing International.
"In times of trouble and adversity, it is important that resources and expertise are quickly mobilised to help those that are in need, said Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, who helped make the arrangements for Cayman Airways to fly to Haiti.
“In the wake of Hurricane Matthew the spirit of Cayman kindness was clearly evident in the response from ordinary citizens who gave generously to help the affected communities in Haiti. The Ministry of Tourism was pleased to support the relief effort by partnering with Cayman Airways and other local businesses to facilitate the delivery of those supplies to Operation Blessing International. We are pleased to have brought some measure of relief to the families in Haiti who are in critical need of assistance.”
The United States-based aid agency also helped the Cayman Islands following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Paloma in 2008, and the organisation’s president, Bill Horan, is a long-time resident of Grand Cayman.
“The current joint effort to help the beleaguered people of Haiti is especially impressive, and I'm amazed at the generosity of the Cayman Islands’ people and Government to make extraordinary efforts like Sunday's mission of mercy to help neighbours they don't even know,” said Mr. Horan.
Cayman Airways also took eight children home to Haiti who had been at Health City Cayman Islands undergoing heart surgery and other heart-related procedures.
The cost savings from not having to charter a flight to take the children home is the equivalent to a life-saving surgery.