Voice of Public Benefit Flying"
2004 Tsunami Aid:
Pilots and others have asked how they can help following the tsunami devastation.
Major relief groups have already responded and say they have plenty of pilots available for their existing fleets, thus it is unlikely volunteer pilots can be of service. Some groups have requested additional equipment, especially helicopters, so if you have appropriate equipment and experience you could call the major groups, such as the International Red Cross.
The real need is not so much people or supplies. It is money. That can be used to hire local workers, many of whom have lost their livelihoods because of the floods, and to buy appropriate food and supplies from vendors in the affected countries, thus stimulating their economies when they need it the most.
There are many volunteer based or charitable relief groups operating in the affected area. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announced in Mid January it would match up to $25,000 of donations made to Air Serv, an international General Aviation relief group. Information about the program is available at http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2005/050120airserv.html
Another group with operations in the area is Wings of Hope, which is a volunteer-based group listed on the Air Care Alliance Listings Page (see listing). Other ACA listed groups may have relief operations, too, so consider asking. Consider your own charitable donation to their efforts.
Additional groups can be identified by consulting the list prepared by Google at http://www.google.com/tsunami_relief.html For instance the Mission Aviation Fellowship has also been flying relief missions. AVweb published a discussion of aviation oriented relief efforts at http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/avflash/331-full.html#188890
Before donating to a charitable group we recommend that you evaluate its reputation and fundraising practices. Most nonprofit groups have listings on Guidestar http://www.guidestar.org or other charity evaluation sites. ALSO: If you have identified a general aviation oriented relief organization worthy of support please let us know about it.
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