McMinnville, Oregon: Evergreen International Aviation Inc. will fly clothes, shoes, blankets, hygiene products, medical supplies as well as feed for Kabul zoo animals from Portland, Oregon to Afghanistan.
The exact date is not being released for security reasons and is pending U.S. Department of Defense approval. Evergreen is expecting the flight to operate sometime early in February 2002.
If the Boeing 747 cargo plane is permitted to land in Kabul, Evergreen officials were told it would be the first commercial jumbo jet to arrive there since the coalition air strikes began. Evergreen has received permission from Afghanistan’s new government, however, a Kabul landing will be impossible without U.S. Defense Department approval due to “No Fly Zone” restrictions.
“Oregon’s got a big heart,” says Delford Smith, Founder & Chairman of the McMinnville Oregon aviation company. “We want to go in to help the terrible conditions over there… filling one of our freighters with humanitarian supplies, as Evergreen has done during previous wars, would be a first for the Afghan campaign.”
The flight is a cooperative effort between Evergreen Humanitarian and Relief Services Inc., the company’s nonprofit relief organization, and other relief organizations as well as corporate sponsors in Oregon, California, and Ohio. Until now, the United Nations along with relief and development organizations have sent much of the food aid to Afghanistan by ship, trucking most of it from neighboring countries on snowy, bomb-damaged roads. The U.S. military has also dropped food packets from planes.
The Evergreen flight donation value is about USD $600,000, which includes aircraft, crew, war insurance, maintenance, cargo storage, handling, loading + unloading cargo and flight logistics. This has been a time consuming project due to the war situation and airport conditions, said Waseel Azizi, Evergreen’s Central Asia humanitarian relief director. “However USD $200,000 is what we require to cover the critical expenditures of fuel and the landing fees,” Azizi said, “Cash donations will also support costs of distribution in the country”.
The Afghanistan Relief Organization, a Los Angeles volunteer group and Evergreen, were swamped with supplies after issuing a public appeal for aid. People rushed out to stores and bought everything from shoes to blankets, said Abdul Satar, Afghanistan Relief vice chairman. “We have 3,000 blankets, 2,500 sweaters and 6,750 pieces of women’s and children’s clothes.” Key donor Nike, Inc., donated 4,000 pairs of socks. The Columbus, Ohio Zoo and Aquarium also donated grains for the animals in Kabul zoo and tools and supplies for the zookeepers to repair the zoo.
On December 21, 2001, seven loaded trucks arrived at Portland International Airport carrying the goods where it’s being stored now. “We have received USD $99,638 worth of clothing from one company,” said Nazi Etemadi, secretary of the Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California, which sent the trucks. “And Direct Relief, Inc. of Santa Barbara, California donated $50,000 worth of hygiene kits.”
An Evergreen Gulfstream Jet may accompany the 747-cargo plane relief mission, carrying Evergreen Aviation personnel to assist with ground logistics necessary for the 747 to land. The Kabul airport has minimal ground handling and control tower capabilities. Several representatives from the donor nonprofit groups and an animal handler from the Columbus Zoo will be on the accompanying plane.
U.S. Congressional Representative David Wu (D-Ore) arranged for a shipment of Oregon smoked fish to go on the 747 as a gift for U.S. soldiers. “We’re looking at 500lbs of smoked salmon,” said Steve Fick, owner of Fishhawk Fisheries in Astoria, Oregon.
Mr. Azizi does double duty, also acting as Evergreen’s military sales manager. Now 28, he left Afghanistan as a refugee at age 13 and later attended college in the United States, where he is now a resident of Oregon. He said the flight holds special personal significance. “I want to build a bridge between my country here and my country of birth,” Azizi said. “I owe it to both.”
To contribute, write a check to Evergreen’s tax-exempt nonprofit organization, Evergreen Humanitarian and Relief Services Inc., designated for Afghan Relief. Mail to: Evergreen Humanitarian and Relief Services Inc., 3850 Three Mile Lane, McMinnville, OR 97128-9402. Information is available at www.evergreenaviation.com.
Evergreen International Airlines is a privately held U.S. cargo airline specializing in charter and contract freighter operations. Evergreen operates a fleet of eleven B-747 freighter aircraft on a wet lease basis for foreign carriers worldwide, domestically in the USA for the United States Post Office and United Parcel Services as well as its own scheduled all cargo time sensitive services between Asia and the United States. The airline is also a major participant in the U.S. Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) program and operates a fleet of seven DC-9 freighters in North America.
Evergreen International Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Evergreen International Aviation, Inc. – a privately held global aviation services company that is active through seven subsidiary companies. These subsidiaries operate under the Evergreen name and provide services that include specialized helicopter aviation services; air cargo transportation for major airlines and freight forwarders; aircraft maintenance and repair services; helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft sales; airport logistics and ground handling operations; complete helicopter component repair and overhaul; and agricultural and nursery products. Evergreen® is a registered trademark of Evergreen International Aviation, Inc.
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