Disaster Preparedness

"Get Airports Ready for Disaster" (GARD)

In the wake of a natural disaster, airports in or near the affected area can become bottlenecks in the flow of relief supplies. Often the existing infrastructure cannot handle the tremendous volume of incoming goods. This is why we collaborate with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conduct multiday workshops for personnel at airports and local disaster management organizations.

Our experienced airport trainers conduct workshops to prepare participants for the logistical challenge of a disaster relief effort. These help them improve processes for dispatching and processing large volumes of incoming relief workers and supplies.

Partnership with the United Nations Development Programme

Our GARD program involves a long-term strategic partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Through this partnership, we are able to cooperate closely with local authorities and government ministries in each of the GARD workshop countries. This facilitates both planning and execution of the workshops, as well as subsequent implementation of the action measures identified during the workshops. Through the partnership with UNDP, GARD also becomes a platform for dialogue and exchange between experts in humanitarian logistics and disaster management.

GARD: Achievements so far and look ahead

The GARD program has continued to grow since the first pilot workshop back in 2009. So far, more than 40 airports around the world have been prepared for disaster situations and more than 1,000 participants have taken part in the training.

Workshop formats

During the five day GARD workshops, Deutsche Post DHL Group air freight experts act mainly as trainers. Contents of the GARD workshop cover both theory and practice, including an assessment of the airport's maximum processing capacity (goods and passengers).  The participants identify action measures to quickly increase airport capacity in the event of a natural disaster. Workshop participants, including airport staff and representatives of disaster management agencies, also work with the trainers to identify possible bottlenecks at their airport, and to develop concrete measures for avoiding such logjams. The results are documented in the Airport Surge Capacity Assessment Report (ASCA), an action plan for increasing the airport's maximum capacity. To be successful, it is critical that the emergency plans take into account the conditions specific to the individual airport, such as architecture and geography. For this reason, the workshops always take place directly at the airport.

Our trainers developed the GARD Plus workshops as a way to monitor the progress of implementation. As part of GARD Plus, the key action measures which had been identified during the initial GARD workshop are typically reviewed after a period of twelve months. To foster the knowledge gained during the GARD workshop, GARD Plus also includes a practical exercise.

In view of the increasing demands to better prepare regional airports for natural disasters, GARD Train the Facilitator has been established to scale up the GARD program within countries that are above average risk. The GARD Train the Facilitator program trains local topic experts to become facilitators and conduct GARD workshops in their own countries.

10 years GARD

The GARD - Get Airports Ready for Disaster program celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019. After the first workshop in 2009 in the Asia-Pacific region, the GARD program expanded geographically and can look back on more than 50 successful workshops with over 1200 participants completed in 26 countries all over the world. In close collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and other partners, our trainers constantly work on further developing the methodology and format of the program. As a result of these workshops and the close collaboration with many partners, the outcomes are being incorporated into national and regional disaster preparedness plans. Overall, the program can look back on ten successful years of disaster preparedness with an ever growing network of partner organizations that have helped make this program so valuable.

GARD workshop in Maldives

Disaster Response

In cooperation with the United Nations, we have established a global network consisting of around 500 specially trained employees who volunteer their time to be a part of our Disaster Response Teams.