With the official hurricane season set to begin June 1, DHL’s (Plantation, Fla., www.dhl.com) Disaster Response Team (DRT) Americas, introduced in 2006, is mobilized to provide emergency relief logistics support to communities affected by natural disasters.
Early predictions of an intense Atlantic hurricane season indicate a possible 10 hurricanes forecast for this year by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. DHL Americas' Disaster Response Team has mobilized its resources and is prepared to provide emergency relief logistics support in the event of any natural disaster as needed throughout the region.
"The Americas' DRT team is fully prepared to support relief efforts in communities affected by hurricanes, tropical storms or other natural disasters, by using its logistics expertise in helping to prevent bottlenecks of relief shipments at airports and facilitate the expeditious delivery of help and assistance to the affected areas," said Dan Ludwig, senior vice president of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Management, DHL Americas.
Although the 2006 hurricane season was not as intense as the one in 2005 when 15 hurricanes caused a death toll of more than 3,000 people, official weather services in the U.S. have forecast 13 to 17 tropical storms for this year. Seven to 10 of these storms are expected to become hurricanes, of which three to five are projected to be "major" hurricanes with winds exceeding 178 km per hour (110 mph).
"In the past, we have seen the havoc that can occur from hurricanes such as Rita, Wilma, and Katrina — which devastated Caribbean countries and extensive areas in the Southeastern region of the U.S. The DRT, made up entirely of volunteers, is committed to leveraging DHL's experience in managing airport logistics and the flow of relief shipments, in order to expedite the timely delivery of humanitarian aid," added Ludwig.
The DRT Americas is comprised of about 80 DHL employees stationed throughout the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean and stands ready to be deployed on an as-needed basis to support relief activities when called upon to almost anywhere in the Americas region. In addition to performing their daily job functions, they have voluntarily committed themselves to being part of a global team, along with DRT units in Singapore and Dubai, that enables DHL to form a strategic partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the area of disaster management.
DHL’s DRT unit in Singapore is responsible for responding to disasters in the Asia-Pacific region. The DRT in Dubai responds to disasters in Africa or Europe.
The team conducts annual training activities to ensure that the DRT functions in the most efficient and effective manner to execute its operations in true-to-life settings in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Recently, a group of DRT Americas volunteers conducted an on-site airway simulation exercise in Miami, Fla., focusing on airport operations. The exercise included helicopter safety training which was facilitated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The DRT team also conducted drills that included inventory control, relief supply storage and essential goods distribution in an airport setting.