The first members of Deutsche Post DHL’s Disaster Response Team (DRT) were dispatched to the central Philippines last week in the wake of the super typhoon “Haiyan” disaster. They will help with on-the-ground airport logistics by setting up a warehouse to help sort relief goods. The aid will then be transported to the people in need as quickly as possible. The members of the DRT will operate at the regional Mactan Cebu Airport on Cebu island right next to the country’s most affected Leyte island.
The DRT will manage the logistics of the inbound relief goods sent via air or sea by the international community and help ensure the quick and constant flow of goods to the people in need. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), over 10 million people are affected and more than 660,000 are displaced. Officials in Leyte Province are reporting that hundreds have died in Tacloban City in the most affected area alone. The region is in desperate need of water, food, medicine, shelter, hygiene and sanitation.
“We know that in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, regional airport logistics can very often encounter bottlenecks which delay the delivery of life-sustaining relief supplies for victims,” said Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel. “Here, we can make a difference with our logistics expertise at a crucial point in the relief effort and help to ensure swift and organized handling of all incoming materials.”
DHL and other humanitarian partners have prepared a temporary professional warehouse at the Mactan Cebu airport for the now increasing influx of goods. The DRT will handle incoming freight, make a full inventory and ensure the speedy loading of the most critical supplies onto trucks or helicopters. Because roads are blocked or completely destroyed – and because regular access to the smaller islands is limited – the DRT has provided so-called DHL Speedballs, special bags with basic relief goods that can be dropped from helicopters. At the moment, Philippine airport staff is packing 300 Speedballs a day to be distributed to the affected region.