DHL and UNDP start pilot program for a more effective disaster relief
- GARD will prepare airports for sudden-onset natural catastrophes
- New strategic initiative of UNDP and Deutsche Post DHL in the area of disaster management
Deutsche Post DHL together with its subsidiary DHL and The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) enhanced its services in the area of Disaster Management.
In addition to previous and existing disaster response initiatives, both parties launched a new module in the field of disaster preparedness. GARD, which stands for "Get Airports Ready for Disaster" is a crucial initiative in making worldwide relief efforts more effective. Two pilot projects were just completed successfully at the Indonesian airports of Makassar and Palu and mark the start of a global roll-out for GARD.
In 2009 and 2010, the DHL GARD team plans to conduct on-site training programs and surge capacity assessments at other airports located close to disaster prone areas in Asia and the Americas.
"When the DHL Disaster Response Teams arrive in the aftermath of a natural disaster, we realize that most airports are overwhelmed with the surge in relief aid cargo and other support. Besides managing the disaster, these airports have to cope with the coordination of the massive support from other countries. Hence, delivering aid to the affected communities would be faster and more effective if airports were well-prepared for the sudden onset of natural catastrophes and this is a key driver for our GARD program," said Matt Hemy, Vice President Security & Crisis Management at DHL Express Asia Pacific and head of the GARD program.
The GARD pilot program started at two airports in Makassar and Palu in the beginning of August 2009. The team members had many months of preparation under their belts once the pilot started and their work began, including meetings with the partner organization, UNDP, establishing contact with the Indonesian Government and their national agency for disaster management and relaying information to both airport authorities. "All that, plus the pre-assessment of the program itself involves quite a bit of background work and compiling highly detailed information", says Matt Hemy.
Understanding surge capacities*
The GARD program follows a train-the-trainer approach. In Indonesia, the small GARD team trained three local DHL experts - all volunteers - who then joined the training team to work with some 17 trainees (airport authorities, members of airport operations and disaster management agencies) on site at the Makassar and Palu airports.
After evaluating the week-long pilot program, the two airports will not only have trained personnel, but perhaps even more importantly, a detailed report with valuable information for supporting disaster relief operations. The Airport Surge Capacity Assessment (ASCA) has been identified as a tool to understand the surge capacity* of an airport for disaster relief operations, post calamity. The report presents the results of the assessment and offers recommendations for airport relief operations.
After earthquakes, cyclones and flooding, help comes mainly from the international community, and that means people and relief goods flying into regional airports. The airports are understandably overwhelmed with the large volumes of food, bottled water, medical equipment and tents suddenly arriving from all over the world.
This is where the work of the DHL Disaster Response Teams (DRT) and its logistical expertise established earlier and where the GARD program will take hold from now on. The program, developed together with UNDP, better prepares airports and people by checking capabilities, coordination requirements, and every detail that can help formulate broad contingency plans.
"Although the Jayapura area had not experienced disasters as often as other areas in Papua, the Sentani airport has a crucial role when a disaster happens as the Indonesian Air Force facilities are located at the airport," said Jusuf Bawan, one of the trainees from Sentani Airport, Jayapura, Papua. "This training will enhance our coordination efforts and relationship with the Indonesian Air Force. In addition, Sentani airport has bigger capacity compared to other airports in Papua, not to mention additional facilities which belong to the Indonesian Air Force. Furthermore, with the Sentani airport's capability to become a hub for distributing humanitarian assistance, we will be able to develop a sound plan when a disaster occurs."
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Therefore, UNDP is committed to support the government of Indonesia in reducing disaster risk. "Supported by the government of the United Kingdom and Australia, we have initiated the Safer-Communities through Disaster Risk Reduction in Development Programme that allows us to accommodate a ground-breaking initiative like GARD," said Kristanto Sinandang, Head of UNDP's Crisis Prevention and Recovery Unit. "This partnership with DHL is one of our efforts to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction in the transportation sector. In the near future, we expect to develop similar initiatives in other sectors."
Matt Hemy is convinced that the increased knowledge of the airport and its facilities and capacities will be a huge help - and he knows quite well that it can look very different after a natural disaster and all the unpredictable things that happen. "But the chances are higher that we'll be able to help more efficiently in getting the relief aid to those that need it urgently."
- Surge capacity refers to the ability of airports to cope with the sudden increase of shipments in the form of relief aid.