Disaster preparedness program: "Get Airports Ready for Disaster" (GARD)
Extreme natural phenomena such as earthquakes or tsunamis can turn into disasters if communities and infrastructures are not adequately prepared. Bottlenecks occur most often at local airports, which quickly become overwhelmed with the large volume of incoming relief supplies. This can delay – or even stop – the onward transport of lifesaving supplies. To avoid such scenarios, in 2009 we developed the “Get Airports Ready for Disaster” (GARD) program together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Due to its unique methodology and concept GARD helps local communities to help themselves.
- provides professional trainers from DHL Aviation to hold the workshop – free of charge
- is addressed at airport managers and disaster related authorities und thus brings important people for disaster relief together
- within the 3-5 days session, participants gain a hands-on approach to disaster preparedness including a mix of classroom elements and on-site assessment work
- provides a clear action plan to increase the airport surge capacity (Airport Assessment Report)
Partnership with UNDP
Deutsche Post DHL has forged a long-term partnership with the UNDP and cooperates closely with governments and local authorities. This facilitates the coordination and the roll-out of the workshop as well as the implementation of follow-up activities after the workshops. Therefore, GARD becomes a platform for experts of humanitarian logistics and disaster management. UNDP funding for GARD comes from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
DPDHL and UN extend partnership
GARD footprint and roadmap
The GARD workshop program is constantly being developed in terms of both content and structure. Since the pilot in 2009, 28 airports and more than 500 participants around the world have received on-site logistics support in disaster preparedness. For the future we plan to run further GARD workshops in three different regions and refresher GARD plus workshops.
New refresher concept "GARD plus" fosters a sustainable approach
Our trainers have developed the follow-up program GARD plus, which allows repetition and application of the workshop content 6-12 months after the GARD workshop. Therefore, it contributes to a sustainable implementation of disaster preparedness activities. GARD plus has been launched initially in December 2012 in Beirut, Lebanon after the participants built a GARD committee with the goal to integrate all aspects of GARD into the national Lebanese disaster risk reduction program.
Workshop and methodology
GARD is targeted at local airport officials and national disaster management personnel. To assure effectiveness, the workshop is always held at the airport to be made disaster-ready and lasts three to five days. With the consulting support of the trainers, participants evaluate their airport and identify potential bottlenecks in the event of a disaster, based on a mix of in-class workshop, assessment work an on-site fieldwork. The goal is to develop a GARD Airport Assessment Report that gives a structure which enables the participants to assess the surge capacity, limiting factors and alternative uses for facilities and processes in and around the airport site.
GARD workshops in 2014
The beginning of the 4-day workshops in Sri Lanka started with silence commemorating the victims of the tsunami 10 years ago in the Asia Pacific. As an island Sri Lanka has a particular interest in increasing the capacity of their airports in case of a disaster and the incoming relief goods. Bandaranaike International Airport was analyzed by 33 participants from different functions. Uthira Ravikumar, (participants from, UNDP Programme Analyst, was very satisfied: "The GARD workshop in Colombo was very well-organized and well-attended by representatives from the airport authorities, UN agencies and NGOs. Along with the Ministry of Disaster Management, Ministry of Civil Aviation and UNDP Sri Lanka, we are committed to taking up the recommendations from this workshop and are looking to hold the GARD Plus workshop in 6 months' time."
The GARD workshop at Las Américas Airport drew to a close last Friday with participants receiving their certificates from the Defense Minister of the Dominican Republic, Sigfrido A. Pared Pérez. Among the 32 participants were representatives from various UN organizations including the OCHA, WFP and UNDAC. Working together with the eight GARD trainers, it was possible for the participants to identify the specific challenges that impede the transport of relief supplies in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Discussions led to the development of solutions and concrete measures aimed at increasing the capacity of the airport. The airport manager, Carlos Rodoli, expressed his appreciation for the support provided by the DHL trainers: " These workshops help the airport and the nation to complement and reinforce existing procedures oriented to bring an efficient response to confront natural disasters."
33 participants took part in the 5-day training seminar run by 8 DHL GARD trainers at Amman's international airport. Working in small groups, the participants brainstormed for different ways in which the capacity of the airport could be increased. Two representatives from regional airports were also present, ensuring that the DHL expertise on site could be passed on even further. The workshop also saw the debut of new training materials which were developed on the basis of an internal optimisation initiative. The positive feedback from the participants was reiterated by the director of the United Nations Development Programme in Jordan: "GARD is an extremely hands-on initiative that makes work at airports much more efficient in the aftermath of catastrophes."
The refresher course GARD plus looked into the findings of the initial Zvartnots assessment conducted in October 2013, the aim being to integrate sustainably all aspects of GARD into Armenia's national disaster management program. Paul Dowling, DHL GoHelp Manager Middle East and Africa, who led the follow-up workshop, said he was "impressed with the work the UN and Ministry of Emergency Situations have done with GARD since the Zvartnots assessment last year. They have taken ownership of the GARD assessment and it's clear that they have done a lot of work."
After the devastating typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 and a direct DRT deployment to immediately support that area, the Philippines have now received another GARD workshop in order to prepare for natural disasters. The workshop was delivered by 7 DPDHL GARD trainers and encouraged the 51 participants to work on ways to increase the surge capacity at Mactan Cebu International Airport.
11 regional trainers have delivered two GARD workshops to a total of 65 participants. The workshops were held in the capital city Lima as well as in Pisco, a city located a little bit further south in the country. Two people from the nearby SOS Children's Village joined the workshop and actively participated in the group works. The workshops were regarded as a large success and good preparation for the next possible emergencies to come.
GARD workshops in 2013
4 GARD plus workshops have been held in 2013 to refresh and further elaborate the findings and results from the initial GARD workshops,. A small committee of GARD participants in the Lebanon, have set up a simulation game to challenge their identified recommendations. In El Salvador regional GARD Trainers elaborated further on the Airport Surge Capacity Report. The Ministry of Transport in Indonesia, trained other airports using the GARD methodology. A smaller group of GARD trainers returned to Tocumen Airport in Panama for an advanced GARD Plus workshop. Meeting with key officials from the September training, they analyzed the findings of the initial assessment and discussed ways of integrating GARD into Panama’s disaster preparedness program.
The biggest earthquake in Armenia in 1988 claimed 25.000 victims and its effects are still relevant even today. Gathering at Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan, Armenia, six GARD trainers set about introducing 34 local airport and disaster management officials to the disaster prevention program. Armen Chilingaryan, DRR Project coordinator Armenia, UNDP, says the workshop had been a great team event: "It provides a stable basis for further cooperation. Our work will not stop here."
The five-day training seminar at Panama's Tocumen International Airport saw a team of eight GARD trainers and facilitators instruct some 44 local participants in assessing airport capacities. The group identified potential bottlenecks that could occur when coping with the surge as plane-loads of humanitarian aid begin to arrive and wrote an Airport Surge Capacity Report for the case ofemergency. The participants were highly satisfied with the GARD workshop and its outcome, as they realized the disaster potential and were getting prepared accordingly.
32 participants took an active part in the GARD Workshop in Manila, the Philippines from 27th to 30th May, lead by 7 DHL GARD Trainers. The Philippines – located within the 'Pacific Ring of Fire' – make it susceptible to earthquakes, landslides, tornados, typhoons and other natural disasters.
"With regular and updated planning and training in place, this will mitigate the risks associated with a sudden onset of a natural disaster", said Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme.
El Salvador is located in an area of intense seismic activity due to the clash of several tectonic plates. This earthquake-prone area is also known as the 'land of volcanoes' and it is extremely susceptible to hurricanes.
"Due to its vulnerability to natural disasters and its political commitment to handle this challenge El Salvador has been a perfect fit and suitable for the GARD exercise", says Stefano Pettinato, UNDP El Salvador, Country Director. In this GARD Workshop from April 23rd to 26th 32 participants have created a surge capacity plan for the two airports Cuscatalán International Airport and Ilopango Airport near San Salvador.
GARD workshops in 2012
"I think the GARD workshop should be continued for allairports in Indonesia," says a GARD participant. This would be challenging,considering Indonesia has more than 100 different airports. 6 of them havealready received the GARD workshop; the latest 2 on Sumatra island in November2012. Due to its geographical location and geological construction,Sumatra, one of Indonesia'slargest islands is subject to a number of natural disaster events such asearthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, wildfires and typhoons.
GARD has been successfully introduced in Europe’s largest metropolitan areas and one of the fastest growing cities: Istanbul. Turkey is hit by hundreds of earthquakes per year. Most of these earthquakes are small in size but, occasionally, the earthquakes reach above magnitude 7.0. In the next few years, an earthquake in the immediate area of Istanbul is expected. Thus, the GARD workshop was extremely helpful and contributed a great deal to the region's preparedness in the event of a disaster.
Lebanon is subjected to a range of natural hazards, the largest, single, natural disaster threat is that of a severe earthquake or an associated Tsunami. In Beirut, the capital of Lebanon the poorly planned urbanization has greatly increased exposure and vulnerabilities of the Beirut citizens to seismic losses. The building stock in large parts of the town is old; the roads narrow and building safety practices are absent. Thus, GARD equipped everyone with tools and knowledge to better handle aid supplies in crisis situations.
GARD workshops in 2011
Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries. It is subject to a number of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions and thus, in need for disaster prevention initiatives. GARD workshop was conducted at two airports in Indonesia – one on Bali and one in West Timor. A total of 31 airport and disaster management personnel took part in the program; 15 of the participants came from other Indonesian airports to receive workshop. Also on hand were eight representatives from the UNDP and the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) as well as members of the Indonesian Red Cross.
Bangladesh is a high-risk country for both earthquakes and tsunamis. It also experiences regular flooding, with a large portion of the nation situated in the Ganges River Delta, at the confluence of several rivers and along the Gulf of Bengal. Many of the country's cities are just a few meters above sea level. To better handle disaster situations, 20 individuals from both airports and disaster control organizations took part in the GARD workshop program held in Bangladesh. The workshop was conducted in the country’s capital of Dhaka and in the southern city of Chittagong.
GARD workshops in 2010
Nepal was the first location to receive the GARD workshop after the program’s 2009 pilot workshop. The Himalayan country was selected due its high-risk of earthquakes, mudslides and drought. For this reason the GARD workshop was used to evaluate five different airports in Nepal. A total of 24 employees took part in the workshop.