Explosion in Beirut Triggers 60-ton Response From Direct Relief and FedEx

Sep 10, 2020 11:00 AM ET

After the catastrophic explosion in Beirut, FedEx immediately reached out to the disaster relief agencies we work with year round to see how we could help with relief efforts. We discovered that Direct Relief, a humanitarian relief organization FedEx has supported for many years, had critically-needed medicines and supplies that they wanted it to get over to Lebanon – 60-tons worth!

That amount of relief materials – valued at more than $11 million – was enough to fill up an entire FedEx Boeing 777 aircraft. So, FedEx stepped up and offered a charter flight to help get the materials to Lebanon.

Four tractor-trailer loads of supplies were picked up from Direct Relief in Santa Barbara, CA and trucked to Memphis, TN. The first leg of their 8,000-mile trip. Late Saturday night, loaded and ready to go, the charter flight took off for Findel, Luxembourg. From there, our FedEx team arranged for Cargolux, who also donated their flight, to carry the shipment on into Beirut.

To make all this happen, we engaged FedEx team members on three continents. Exhibiting the passion of the Purple Promise, the team made the experience truly outstanding for all involved.

Thomas Tighe, the President and CEO of Direct Relief, and Richard Smith, executive vice president, Global Support, FedEx Express were both on the FedEx ramp in Memphis as the charter flight was loaded.

After the shipment made it into Beirut to be distributed to hospitals, clinics, and primary care centers across the city, emails began flying intercontinentally with team members thanking one another for a job well done. FedEx Express managing director Dave Lang said “Great teams can do great things.”

A big 60-ton thank you to all who helped make this happen!