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Counterpart International and SkyLink Aviation Send Medicines After Earthquakes and Tsunami Hit Samoa

Huge earthquakes and quake-triggered tsunami leave hundreds dead and thousands in need of medicines.

Arlington, VA, October 18, 2009 --( The island nation of Samoa was shaken in late September after multiple earthquakes and a devastating tsunami, leaving over 150 confirmed dead and thousands injured and homeless. The Samoan government, seeking immediate assistance, put the call out to organizations worldwide. Counterpart International (Counterpart) in coordination with SkyLink Aviation, an international aviation company, provided medical supplies for distribution to the thousands of injured survivors on October 8th.

“In a disaster of this scale, the impact on the population is enormous. Medical supplies are a critical component of relief efforts,” explains Mary Angelini, Vice President of Counterpart’s Community and Humanitarian Assistance Programs (CHAP).

Tuesday, September 29th, a magnitude 8.3 earthquake hit the Islands, followed by a deadly quake-triggered tsunami, killing over 150 people. Towering waves flattened or submerged entire villages, destroying houses and forcing residents to flee to higher ground. September 30th brought another earthquake, more casualties and an international call for help.

While rescue forces are still searching for more survivors and adding to the death toll across Samoa, the earthquakes have finally subsided and water levels have begun to decrease. Now the country faces a massive cleanup and assessment of the widespread damage.

Counterpart and SkyLink Aviation sent more than $125,000 worth of medical supplies to Samoa, arriving on Thursday, October 8th. These medicines will treat over 5,000 survivors in the area.

“In our business we have to be present in terrible calamities, and you have to take the decision to close your eyes or face the reality. We never close our eyes,” says Walter Arbib, the president of SkyLink Aviation.

As this emergency unfolded, Counterpart called upon a medical supplier in the Netherlands to acquire medicines available for immediate distribution. SkyLink, with the cooperation of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of Greater Toronto and Veahafta, a Jewish welfare organization on behalf of the Israeli Government, joined forces with Counterpart to send them to the people of Samoa. Stored in a warehouse in the Netherlands, the medicines were picked up and shipped on October 5th. They were then distributed in Samoa on the 8th.

“Toronto’s Jewish community is deeply proud of the unwavering commitment by Counterpart International and SkyLink to help those throughout the world who have been devastated by these tragic disasters. Theirs is a generosity and humanity that will inspire those from all ethno-cultural communities to make a difference in the lives of so many who have suffered so terribly,” Ted Sokolsky, President and CEO, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

Included in this distribution were anesthetics, analgesics, penicillin, antibacterial drugs, antacids, anti-infective agents, oral rehydration drugs, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs. Counterpart’s direct contact, Dr. Stanley Dean, the General Manager of Samoa’s National Health Services, facilitated the distribution in the most desperate areas after the SkyLink delivery.

With the distribution of much-needed medicines, Counterpart and SkyLink are playing a critical role in the relief efforts after this devastating natural disaster. Counterpart’s Community & Humanitarian Assistance Program (CHAP) continues to deliver and distribute large amounts of commodities to the most vulnerable and needy populations throughout the world.

Established in 1965, Counterpart International (Counterpart) has forged strategic partnerships in more than 65 countries. With 350 staff currently operating in 25 countries, Counterpart’s programs encompass humanitarian aid and relief assistance, health care, democracy and governance, natural resource management and feeding the impoverished. Though Counterpart’s projects are diverse, they share a common objective: improving the lives of those in need by empowering people and local institutions to develop innovative, holistic, and lasting solutions that address social, economic and environmental challenges. Learn more at

Contact Information
Counterpart International
Mary Angelini

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