On 26 January 2016, Deutsche Post DHL Group, the leading mail and logistics company, and the United Nations – represented by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) celebrated 10 years of successful partnership in disaster preparedness and response at the event in Bonn, Germany. The partnership aims to prepare airports and personnel on disaster preparedness and provides support to better manage logistics at airports in disaster-hit areas. Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) Group cooperates with OCHA’s Emergency Services Branch (ESB) within the “GoHelp” programme, which consists of a capacity-building project “Get Airports Ready for Disasters” (GARD) and Special Disaster Response Teams (DRT).When disaster strikes, there is a considerable risk of bottlenecks as a result of the sudden upsurge of incoming relief traffic, lack of capacity and damages to infrastructure.
Since airport preparedness is a key element of disaster preparedness mechanisms and plans, “Get Airports Ready for Disasters” (GARD) project aims at strengthening resilience and capacities of airports in supporting incoming relief and plans. It serves to develop practical recommendations for contingency planning, and moreover, it works to bring together all relevant stakeholders involved in humanitarian action to identify possible weaknesses and gaps that could affect a relief operation.
Disaster and Response Teams (DRT) consist of the pool of 400 volunteers from DHL logistics experts trained in disaster management. They play a vital role in the first hours of a disaster by providing logistics to airports. The team handles incoming relief supplies, sorts them and finds storage options, allowing relief agencies to save more lives by getting quicker access to urgently needed items like food, shelter, medicines and water. The most recent joint missions took place in response to the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in March 2015.