Microsoft Assists Humanitarian Relief Flight to Afghanistan

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 15, 2002 — Early this week, a Boeing 747 took off from Portland, Oregon, loaded with more than 190,000 pounds (86,000 kilos) of lifesaving humanitarian aid, bound for Kabul, Afghanistan. Reportedly the first non-military flight to receive approval to fly from the United States into Afghanistan since Sept. 11, the mercy mission carried hygiene kits, newborn and baby kits, livestock feed, winter clothing and blankets, school kits and medical supplies.

Workers in Kabul unload the first private-aid flight to Afghanistan from the U.S. since Sept. 11. Click on photo for high-resolution image

The flight took wing with the help of a US$50,000 donation from Microsoft to Mercy Corps, which teamed up with Evergreen Humanitarian Services to send and distribute the supplies. The two nonprofit organizations provided the costs of the plane and crew, and provided for aid distribution once on the ground in Kabul.

“We have to pull together in these times of uncertainty to continue to provide for those in need,” says Bruce Brooks, director of Community Affairs at Microsoft. “Microsoft is pleased to support the work of Mercy Corps and Evergreen Humanitarian Services in such a worthwhile effort.”

The supplies, valued at more than $2 million, include hygiene kits with such basic supplies as soap, shampoo and toothbrushes; newborn- and infant kits with blankets, diapers and clothes; surgical, clinical and first-aid supplies; animal feed for livestock to help stave off severe damage caused by four years of drought; and school kits with pencils, paper, chalkboards and chalk.

“We’ve all been anxious to do something to help ease the suffering of people in Afghanistan,” says Marianne Mason, Evergreen Humanitarian Affairs president. “This is one way we can help, and we’re overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of support and cooperation we’ve received to help make this happen.”

In addition to Microsoft, charitable contributions were also made by Nike, Northwest Medical Teams, LDS Charities, Lutheran World Relief, White Diamond Ranch, AMB Property Corp., Danner Boots, Freight Master, Fish Hawk Fisheries, Oregon Ocean Seafood, Goldsmith Company, Portland Metropolitan Zoo, Jack Hanna & Columbus Zoo, PARSA, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, 3M Company, and Trammel & Co.

Microsoft has made humanitarian donations in response to past crises in Taiwan, Turkey, Venezuela, El Salvador, India, and the United States. These grants are part of International Community Affairs’ $20 million program (approximately $6 million in cash and $14 million in products) to communities where Microsoft employees live and work outside the U.S. Through the program, local Microsoft subsidiary resources have funded more than 105 community-based projects in 70 countries.

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