Deutsche Post DHL and United Nations Development Programme launch "Get Airports Ready for Disaster" workshop in Jordan
- Queen Alia International Airport Authority in Amman trained in determining surge capacity of their airport to prepare for a natural disaster situation
- GARD program recently celebrated its 5th anniversary
In the end, airport specialists from DHL, representatives from UNDP and participants from airports and emergency services jointly develop a crisis plan.
Deutsche Post DHL and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a "Get Airports Ready for Disaster" (GARD) workshop at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman/Jordan. Running for five days the workshop prepares airport personnel. From 7th - 11th September, airport personnel gets prepared for the logistics of emergencies, including handling high volumes of incoming goods and passengers in the aftermath of a natural disaster like an earthquake, floods or hurricanes. The 30 participants are a mix of staff from airport operations, air traffic control, security and relevant disaster management agencies.
Handle a disaster-related surge in people and goods
Deutsche Post DHL's GARD program was developed in cooperation with UNDP five years ago and aims to prepare airports in disaster-prone areas to handle a disaster-related surge in people and goods. GARD trainers are DHL experts in the field who conduct the training on a free of charge basis and provide relevant training materials while UNDP manages the project, leads the coordination with local government authorities, and provides funds to shoulder workshop costs. To date, GARD workshops have been conducted in Armenia, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nepal, Panama, Peru, the Philippines and Turkey, training at least 430 people.
"In case of natural disasters, airports turn into vital hubs to accommodate the incoming relief goods. Through the GARD workshops, Deutsche Post DHL and UNDP jointly work with authorities worldwide to analyze and define the capacities needed. Most importantly, it helps all parties involved to develop a blueprint specific to each location in times of disaster", said Christof Ehrhart, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications and Responsibility at Deutsche Post DHL.
"For almost a decade, UNDP has been supporting national counterparts to increase awareness, to promote disaster preparedness and risk reduction, to establish the concept of national disaster management; as well as to change institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks. Substantial progress has been made - developing National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and Action Plan is under consideration by the government of Jordan", said Zena Ali- Ahmad, Country Director UNDP Jordan. "GARD is a very praxis-oriented initiative that makes the work at airports after a disaster more efficient". The training makes it possible for us to work hand-in-hand with Queen Alia International Airport employees. We are pleased to be able to make a contribution here", she added.
Develop a crisis plan
In turn, Kjeld Binger, CEO of Airport International Group (AIG), the Jordanian company responsible for the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of QAIA, said, "Given Jordan's active role in facilitating regional humanitarian efforts and QAIA's importance as the Kingdom's prime airport, ensuring QAIA's crisis readiness is always a priority.
"Jordan is located in an earthquake prone area in the Middle East region, therefore I am glad that we at DHL can offer a training that will help to prepare the airport for any exceptional circumstance following a natural disaster," says Mahmoud Haj Hussein, Country Manager DHL Express Jordan.
During a GARD workshop, airport employees and representatives of the national government disaster management body learn which mechanisms are effective in the wake of a natural disaster; which actors of the international community - the United Nations, for example - take action. Particular emphasis is placed on evaluating the capacity of participant's own airport, including potential storage opportunities for relief goods, available personnel and equipment, and technical requirements or corresponding alternatives. In the end, airport specialists from DHL, representatives from UNDP and participants from airports and emergency services jointly develop a crisis plan. This plan highlights efficient and practical contingencies for handling a surge in international relief goods and humanitarian personnel following a disaster.
Deutsche Post DHL's disaster management program
The GARD is part of the disaster management program of Deutsche Post DHL, which also includes the DHL Disaster Response Teams (DRT). DHL's Disaster Response Teams step in to organize the logistics at airports following a disaster and have been deployed over 25 times since its launch in 2005. The DRT, in close cooperation with UN OCHA, help keep the flow of incoming relief goods moving at disaster-site airports.