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[Bahamas] Trans Island Team A Hub Of Relief Work

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[Bahamas] Trans Island Team A Hub Of Relief Work

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Oct 13, 2015

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/oct ... work/?news

[Bahamas] Trans Island Team A Hub Of Relief Work
BRENT STUBBS Tribune Staff Reporter
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

SINCE the passing of Hurricane Joaquin, the Trans Island Airlines hub at Odyssey Aviation at the Lynden Pindling International Airport has been a beehive of activities.

TIA President Paul Aranha noted that both the private and government segments of our society have benefited tremendously from the huge operation that they have conducted in support of the relief efforts of those southern islands affected by the storm without any affiliation to any political and ethnic groups.

“We are acting as the co-ordination and the airlift for the agencies, volunteer groups or government organisations that need our service,” Mr Aranha said during an interview on the weekend. “We are not politically or island orientated, but we’re not like Bahamasair or any of the other airlines where you can come and ask for us to drop this box or package off to an individual. We’re not doing that.”

Mr Aranha, a former tennis player, said they have been working to ensure that all of the goods packaged by the number of volunteers in Vitamalt boxes and the water and medical supplies are airlifted to the various islands on a daily basis. And they are advising the residents that everything that is packaged in the boxes has been donated by private citizens who care about their wellbeing.

Since they started the operation, Mr Aranha said TIA has serviced up to 15 flights a day and they have also transported government workers, especially the Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers deployed to the islands, on a timely basis.

“We’ve worked with every government organisation, who come to us and within an hour and a half or two, we have their personnel or goods delivered to the island,” Mr Aranha said. “We also co-ordinated the evacuation of the people from Crooked Island and we have been able to carry people who have been affected by the hurricane.”

Additionally, Mr Aranha said they have worked closely with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in getting as many supplies and persons into Exuma, which has served as a hub to connect to those southern islands that were not directly accessible due to the hurricane.

And he noted that they have been assisted by a number of foreign agencies, that have come on board to lend their support to the Bahamian people.

“We’re helping the government move their people, the agencies move their people and we are helping the people who need to get out of the islands in an emergency - like today, when we had to bring a lady here with a severed artery to Nassau,” he said.

“From the time we found out she had the injury to the time we got her into Nassau was a hour and a half. We were flying back from Acklins when we got the call that we needed to stop into Long Island and we picked her up from Deadman’s Cay and brought her here.”

After the passing of Joaquin, Mr Aranha said TIA was the first airline to make an assessment trip to the islands. As a result of their hurricane relief efforts, Mr Aranha said they were not able to continue their normal operations so that they can assist with the worthy cause.

“It’s been very outstanding how much support we have received from the community,” he said. “We are a no name operation. What we really are is a part made up of so many pieces. We are not doing it for any recognition or for people to identify who we are. We are doing it because people need our support.”

By the time they are done, Mr Aranha said they anticipate moving over a quarter of a million pounds of airfreight to the islands.

For those inquiring minds, one of the volunteers, Michelle Cove said the Vitamalt boxes have been donated by Commonwealth Brewery and the group of private citizens, who have volunteered their services, has put together 6,000 mixed goods of food, baby supplies, diapers, wipes, cream, toiletries, toothpaste, deodorant, and medical kits.

“We also have bleach, cleaning supplies, water, tarpaulins to cover buildings and out of this building, we are working with every agency, including the Red Cross, NEMA, the Defence Force, United Nations, NATO and a number of private citizens in the United States,” Mrs Cove said. “The aviation department has also assisted us providing everything from helicopters, DC-3s from our people in Florida and Paul Aranha has put this relief effort together to make sure that the people get their food.”

There is no funding to pay the volunteers, but Mrs Cove said they have had a number of local companies such as Dominoes, KFC and private individuals, who have provided food. The volunteers have been offering their time and energy since last week in the hangar and they intend to continue.

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