When natural disasters destroy local infrastructure and block access to humanitarian relief, one aircraft has proven to be critical to saving lives.

In 2010, both Pakistan and Haiti were struck by devastating natural disasters that displaced millions. The next year came the earthquake and tsunami that shattered the infrastructure of Japan. The list of such natural disasters is long, and it will keep getting longer while natural disasters remain beyond the reach of human control.

What we can control is our response. In these cases and others, nations have come together to rush valuable supplies and relief workers to places where critical infrastructure no longer exists. And since 1995, the indispensable aircraft for relief efforts by the U.S. and its global partners has been Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster.


Natural disasters disrupt water supply lines and sources, making outside aid essential to the survival of those left stranded. Roughly 20,000 gallons of water could be carried in a C-17, which would give nearly 40,000 people the water they need each day.


A person can only go without water for
3-5 days.3

Extreme temperatures can reduce survival time by
24 hours.3



A C-17 has the capacity to carry more than 88,000 humanitarian daily rations (HDRs), packages of food with long shelf life designed to supply one person’s daily nutritional needs—enough of them to feed 12,500 people for a week.


HDRs have a shelf life of
36 months.4

HDRs contains at least
2,200 calories.4



The C-17 can carry 102 standing passengers,2 such as medical and ground staff to help with critical care and evacuation. For those who need medical airlift, the C-17 can accomodate 48 patients on litters, along with 54 attendants.


Medical intervention after an event is only effective within
48 hours.5

During the 2011 Japan disaster, USAF C-17s evacuated
2,800 survivors.6

When a single aircraft has the potential to save that many lives, every nation with C-17s in its arsenal is quick to dispatch them.

Since 2005...

With their capacity to deliver large quantities of vital supplies across great distances and into remote areas, C-17s have been sent to the scene of virtually every natural disaster and large-scale relief effort around the world, including the following:

  • Hurricane Katrina

    United States of America, 2005

    400,000 Displaced7

  • Cyclone Nargis

    Myanmar, 2008

    1,500,000 Displaced8

  • Samoa eathquake and tsunami

    Samoa, 2009

    3,000 Displaced9

  • Chile earthquake

    Chile, 2010

    1,500,000 Displaced10

  • Pakistan floods

    Pakistan, 2010

    6,000,000 Displaced11

  • Haiti earthquake

    Haiti, 2010

    1,500,000 Displaced12

  • Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

    Japan, 2011

    300,000 Displaced13

  • Typhoon Haiyan

    Phillipines, 2012

    4,100,000 Displaced14

  • Nepal earthquake

    Nepal, 2015

    2,800,000 Displaced15