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DHL, UNDP Prepare Airport Staff for Disaster Relief Logistics

Friday, 05 December 2014 16:07

Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading mail and logistics services group and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Ministry of Civil Aviation, kicked off a disaster preparedness initiative ‘Get Airports Ready for Disaster’ (GARD) workshop in Colombo.

The four-day workshop will be held from 2 to 5 December 2014, and will provide training to 34 Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) personnel to effectively deliver and support vital relief operations in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

The GARD training is strongly supported by the Ministry of Disaster Management and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, both of whom were represented at the program’s kick-off ceremony.

According to Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management, Ms. S. M. Mohamed, “We consider GARD to be an essential part of improved disaster preparedness at a national level.

GARD will have special significance for Sri Lanka being an island country, which depends heavily on airports to get required external assistance and inputs in the event of a national disaster.

We look forward to gaining from the DHL-UNDP experience at the GARD workshop and getting our airports prepared to face disasters of all scales.”

Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Dr. T.R.C. Ruberu added, “When disasters strike airports are a vital point in disaster management and recovery.

Preparedness of airports to face national disasters will enable delivery of rapid and effective response and build capacity of the nation to be more resilient in the face of crises We appreciate DHL-UNDP collaboration, which provided an excellent opportunity for Sri Lanka to learn from previous GARD experiences in other countries.

The GARD workshop will provide training and key expertise for our officials to swiftly respond to disaster situations. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is keen to work together with DHL and UNDP to ensure that our airports are resilient and responsive in the face of disasters.”

Launched in 2009, the GARD program was co-developed by Deutsche Post DHL and UNDP with the objective of preparing airports in disaster-prone areas to respond quickly and effectively to the challenges of disaster relief logistics.

“Over the years we have conducted numerous disaster relief management exercises and have come to understand that efficient airport logistics are critical to getting aid to the people who need it.

Airports can quickly become overwhelmed with the large volume of incoming relief supplies, and this can delay – or even stop – the onward transport of lifesaving supplies.

The GARD initiative is our way of being able to pass on our logistics expertise to local communities so they may be able to operate swiftly despite the high-pressure challenges they may face in times of disaster,” explained Chris Weeks, Director of Humanitarian Affairs for DHL.

Participants at the four-day workshop will receive training on GARD Methodology, airport assessment and the formulation of an action plan, through a mix of classroom elements and on-site assessment work.

GARD trainers are DHL experts in this field who conduct the training on a pro-bono basis and provide relevant materials, while UNDP manages the project, leads the coordination with relevant government authorities, and support logistical arrangements for the workshops.

"Over the last decade, UNDP has continuously supported the formulation of disaster management policies and institutional development in Sri Lanka. Currently, our focus is to support the implementation of the Sri Lanka Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (SLCDMP), which is Sri Lanka’s main approach to mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and enhancing resilience.

UNDP considers GARD to be a strategic component of SLCDMP and as such the planned training programme is a valuable and timely contribution to strengthening disaster management in Sri Lanka,” said Subinay Nandy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

Mr. Dhammika Wijesuriya, Airport Safety Manager, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), said, “We are acutely aware of the significance of this training for Sri Lanka as it marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating 2004 Tsunami later this month.

Disaster risk management has been a strong focus among key stakeholders of this community and a workshop of this nature offers an ideal foundation for us to boost disaster response capacity and devise practical contingency plans at BIA, Sri Lanka’s main airport.”

Deutsche Post DHL’s disaster management program

The GARD concept complements the disaster management program of Deutsche Post DHL (DP DHL), which also includes the DHL Disaster Response Teams (DRT). DRTs step in to organize the logistics at airports following a disaster and have been deployed over 20 times since its launch in 2005. The DRTs, in close cooperation with the UN, help keep the flow of incoming relief goods moving at disaster-site airports.

Both GARD and DRT form part of DP DHL’s Corporate Responsibility Program “Living Responsibility”, and are offered in partnership with the UNDP free of charge.

To date, GARD has been implemented at 27 airports globally including Indonesia (2009, 2011, 2012), the Philippines (2013, 2014), Jordan (2014), the Dominican Republic (2014), Peru (2014), Nepal (2010), Bangladesh (2011), Lebanon (2012), Turkey (2012), El Salvador (2013), Panama (2013), and Armenia (2013).

Last modified on Friday, 05 December 2014 16:13