The SkyLIFE journey began on January 12th 2010 when a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake and two aftershocks leveled Haiti. To this day, it is still seen as one of the most devastating natural disaster events in modern history.
In the aftermath of the quake, a massive international aid effort was mounted but with hampered success. The efforts of citizens, local governments, and international aid organizations, while mighty, struggled to reach victims due to the failure of the local electrical power system, loss of communication lines, and roads blocked with wreckage.
Even with the immense global response that was mounted, tens of thousands of initial survivors lost their lives because crucial aid could not be delivered across “the last mile.” Last mile distribution refers to the final and most precarious stage of the humanitarian relief chain. It is at this stage where crucial aid often gets trapped, delayed, or stolen.
Helpless in the face of this critical gap was the inspiration for SkyLIFE. We knew humanitarian responses needed to be better and could be better. We knew that the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake was a situation that never should have happened. Recognizing that victims of disaster are too often left separated from existing aid, we developed an aerial delivery company that drops aid directly at the feet of those who need it. And we’ve been doing it ever since.
Recognizing the need for an aid response strategy that would meet the immediate needs of victims, SkyLIFE set out to design robust air delivery systems that could deliver anything, anywhere, at a moment’s notice.
Much of these first five years were spent imagining what an effective system would look like, how it would function, and conducting field testing to make these concepts a reality. These years of R&D and field testing would eventually result in the products we are so proud of today. Since these original drops, SkyLIFE has grown. We now airdrop critical supplies all over the world and partner with global humanitarian organizations and governments.
Because SkyLIFE systems are so versatile, they can be used to facilitate more than just short-term humanitarian relief. SkyLIFE delivers immediate relief when it’s needed, but we also find solutions that will support communities for the long-term. This means working with local relief groups on the specific long-term needs of a community and delivering creative solutions like location-specific seeds, farming tools, and cooking staples.
The larger significance of SkyLIFE’s innovation is about sending a message that vulnerable communities deserve more than basic survival. That means designing technology that can handle the logistical requirements of fragile payloads and thinking creatively about what can and should be aerially delivered.