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Delta pledges cash, in-kind aid to Japan

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

msubiria@news-daily.com

Delta Air Lines announced on Wednesday that it pledged $1 million in cash and in-kind support to disaster-relief efforts in Japan, in response to a devastating earthquake that wreaked havoc on the Asian nation last week.

Officials said the airline plans to assist through two relief programs. "Japan is a core part of our global network, and we are committed to finding ways to help those in need, following last week's devastating earthquake," said Vinay Dube, senior vice president of Asia-Pacific, for Delta Air Lines, in a written statement.

The airline will contribute $250,000 to the Japanese Red Cross Society, through the Delta Air Lines Foundation, a company-managed giving system, officials said.

Chris Kelly, a spokeswoman for Delta, said the Japanese Red Cross Society, a disaster-relief organization in the country, will receive the monetary donation by the end of this week.

The money was raised through donations from the airline's customers and employees, via a dedicated Delta-American Red Cross web site -- www.redcross.org -- said Kelly.

Donations made through the web site will be given directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society, to assist its efforts to aid victims in the country's affected areas, according to airline officials.

Kelly added that the web site will be open until the need for aid is met. People can continue to make monetary donations at the web site. The airline will eventually determine the next date to transfer donations, she said.

"The last time we activated the web site was when Haiti had its crisis," said Kelly.

The long-standing partnership Delta has with the American Red Cross, will also allow for complimentary cargo and passenger capacity to help move relief supplies and workers, to and from, disaster areas around the world, when needed, officials explained.

The other means of helping involves World Vision Japan, a Christian-relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities overcome poverty and injustice, according to Delta officials.

The airline will match up to 5 million SkyMiles, or flyer miles, against its customers' donations to World Vision Japan, through the airline's SkyWish Asia program. The program allows customers to donate their SkyMiles to the organization by visiting -- www.delta.com/skymiles.

World Vision Japan, officials said, is generally among the first organizations to distribute pre-positioned supplies, to begin relief work. "In addition ... Delta will supplement any employee and customer contributions with additional cash, if needed, to fulfill its $1 million pledge," said officials.

Kelly added that because of the strict international security and customs requirements, Delta only accepts relief cargo shipments through pre-approved relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross, CARE and UNICEF.

In addition, Delta is also providing relief to its employees in Japan, through Delta Employee & Retiree Care Fund, a non-profit organization led, and funded, by the airline, officials said.

"Delta's 1,200 employees in Japan, backed by our support of 80,000 worldwide, are rallying together to do what we can to make a difference, and we encourage our customers to join us by donating money or miles to our dedicated charities," said Delta's Vinay Dube.