DHL Deploys Disaster Response Teams

Oct. 12, 2009
Already assisting Samoa in its response to a tsunami, DHL has deployed relief teams to Indonesia.

Deutsche Post DHL has deployed a Disaster Response Team (DRT) to Padang Airport in Indonesia at the invitation of the United Nations. The team has already started handling first incoming aircraft, bringing in medical supplies and generators, says DHL. The DRT will temporarily help manage the expected surge in air cargo operations at the Padang Airport, thereby reducing bottlenecks and keeping the airport open for additional relief flights.

The DRT team consists of 10 trained DHL volunteers, coming from the DRT Asia Pacific in Singapore and the DRT Middle East in Dubai. Their deployment is a pro-bono activity and they are working closely with UNOCHA, the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and national authorities to coordinate relief logistics activities

“The DRT Indonesia has started to handle relief cargo at the Airport of Padang. On request of the Prime Minister of Samoa, our logistics experts will continue to support on the ground with logistic advice and planning. Samoa is difficult to reach and logistic advice of high importance,” said Rainer Wend, executive vice president, Corporate Public Policy and Responsibility.

In the early days of its deployment, the team in Padang/Indonesia was expected to continue to handle unsolicited relief goods such as tents, tarpaulins, food, clothing, medicines and water purifying equipment. They will manage a temporary, professional warehouse at the airport, including sorting and making a full inventory of donated goods. The team will also ensure the speedy loading of aid onto trucks or helicopters. The mission is expected to last for three weeks with the team changing on a weekly basis.

A DRT deployed to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines has been operating since October 2nd, handling incoming unsolicited relief goods for that region.

In 2005 DHL entered into a partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in the area of Disaster Management. DHL’s global Disaster Response Team network consists of three teams which are assigned to a specific geographic region covering Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East and Africa. The teams gained significant experience in responding to major sudden-onset natural disasters, in providing their logistics expertise to people affected by Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake that struck Northern Pakistan and Peru, as well as the flooding in Burma/Myanmar . Each of these regional teams consists of a pool of about 80 specially trained DHL employees, who, in addition to their normal job, have volunteered to take part in the pro-bono humanitarian efforts. Up to fifteen members of the team are present at any point in time during the deployment.

The DRT can be deployed to a crisis area within 72 hours and for a period of up to three weeks. By that time, the initial wave of international charter aircraft bringing in aid supplies has normally subsided to a level that is manageable by local authorities, says DHL.