Hurricane Maria aid still flying into Puerto Rico

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Pearl Aircraft chairman Jan Soderberg has organised the delivery of 13 tonnes of medical supplies to areas of Puerto Rico still devastated by Hurricane Maria.

The supplies included hospital beds, ambulation devices, general primary medical supplies, exam tables, stretchers and more.

Soderberg sourced the supplies through New York-based Afya Foundation and organised transportation with the use of his private aircraft and a Boeing 737 Freighter donated by US charter airline, Swift Air.

The chairman says that as his company’s headquarters are in Puerto Rico, he has a vested interest in the island and the well-being of the people.

Soderberg says: “I feel it is my civic duty to give back to my fellow U.S. citizens, that is why I have provided my own private aircraft to ship the medical supplies that the Afya Foundation has so generously donated. I want to thank Swift Air and its Chief Executive Jeff Conry for donating the transport of supplies from Miami to Puerto using its cargo aircraft, and Afya Foundation for making this experience so positive and seamless.”

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and the island is recovering.

Soderberg says that immediately following the hurricane, much of the aid was unusable, saying: “What I have learned is that many goods that initially arrived in Puerto Rico ended up in the garbage dump. This was due not only to an inability to distribute goods when local infrastructure such as harbours, roads and electrical grids were destroyed, but also, importantly, due to failure by donors and aid organisations to listen to the local needs.”

He was accompanied by former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In the days following the redevelopment site visits, Soderberg joined the Clinton’s at a meeting of the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, which was held in San Juan.