DHL supports flood relieve efforts in Guatemala
DHL Disaster Response Team deploys to Guatemala City Airport06/02/2010, 03:30 PM CEST
The Disaster Response Teams organize the flow of relief goods after natural disasters. (Image: Mission to Chile in March)
Only a few days after Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, started erupting, also Tropical Storm "Agatha" hit the region, causing severe floods and landslides. The storm killed more than 100 people and left over tens of thousands losing their homes and seeking rescue in temporary shelters. Due to the volcano eruption, the main airport in Guatemala City had been closed until yesterday, with international help only arriving slowly.
After the government called the state of emergency the Local Emergency Management Authority (CONRED) asked for support from the DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) for Americas on 30 May 2010. A team of 20 DRT volunteers will today deploy at La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City and start to set up a temporary, professional warehouse, including sorting facilities and making a full inventory of donated goods. Depending on the situation the mission is expected to last for 7-10 days initially.
Due to its international presence in over 220 countries, DHL can deploy its trained volunteers quickly to any severely affected area around the globe. Out of the 450 DHL employees in Guatemala, 32 are trained DRT volunteers, usually working in different business units of DHL Guatemala. Everywhere, the DHL DRTs work on a pro-bono basis as part of the companies Corporate Responsibility Program.
Rainer Wend, Executive Vice President Public Policy and Responsibility, says: "It is important that the worst affected areas in Guatemala will receive essential goods such as water, food and aid material as quickly as possible. I am therefore glad that we have been asked by the Guatemalan government to bring in our logistics expertise at the main airport to help manage incoming goods and so make the relief efforts run as quickly as possible."
Disaster Response Team in Guatemala
Gilberto Castro, Disaster Response Team Manager for Americas, said: "Due to our global presence we have 32 DRT volunteers in Guatemala ready for an immediate deployment. In times of disaster, time is essential and we are glad to be able to provide a quick and efficient service to support the local relief efforts. "
The DHL DRT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Coordinator for Emergency Disaster Risk Reduction (CONRED), in 2009. Once called on by the local authorities, the existing MoU gives the DRT the option for a swift deployment as well as the immediate set up of the necessary logistics for the handling of relief goods at the airport.
In 2005, DHL entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in the area of Disaster Management. DHL's global DRT network consists of three teams which are assigned to a specific geographic region covering Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and Africa. Each of these teams consists of a pool of about 80 specially trained DHL employees, who - in addition to their normal job - have volunteered to take part in the pro-bono humanitarian efforts.
The DRT can be deployed to a crisis area within 72 hours and for a period of up to three weeks. By that time, the initial wave of international charter aircraft bringing in aid supplies has normally subsided to a level that is manageable by local authorities. Up to fifteen members of the team are present at any point in time during the deployment.