Friday, October 2, 2009

Deutsche Post DHL deploys Disaster Response Team to the Philippines

Plantation, Fla. and Bonn, Germany – October 2, 2009: Deutsche Post DHL, the leading global logistics provider, has deployed a Disaster Response Team (DRT) to the Philippines at the invitation of the Philippine Government. The DRT reached the capital Manila on October 1, 2009 and will temporarily help manage the expected surge in air cargo operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, thereby reducing bottlenecks and keeping the airport open for additional relief flights. The DRT team consists of 9 trained DHL volunteers, coming from the DRT Asia Pacific headquarters based in Singapore. 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.

Rainer Wend, Executive Vice President, Environment and Sustainability said:” The people in the Philippine capital are suffering seriously from the effects of the recent typhoon and they are depending on international support. It is our aim to establish a well functioning entry point for relief cargo arriving on charter flights in order to provide people with essential relief goods as soon as possible. We have significant experience in responding to major sudden-onset natural disasters, and have provided our logistics expertise to people affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake that struck Northern Pakistan and Northern India.”

Chris Weeks, DHL Director of Humanitarian Affairs added:” The situation in Manila is devastating: 750.000 people are without a home due to the flooding in the capital of Manila and they urgently need international help. Our team will organize the incoming unsolicited relief goods at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and ensure a smooth logistic chain.”

Matt Hemy, DRT-Coordinator in Singapore, said:” The volunteers are all DHL employees and experts in logistics. They are part of our global network and undergo regular specialized training which constantly keeps them prepared in case a natural disaster hits.”

The Disaster Response Team deployed to the Philippines will operate from Terminal 3 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila. In the coming days the team will set up logistics for the handling of all kinds of relief goods such as tents, tarpaulins, food, clothing, medicines and water purifying equipment. They will set up and manage a temporary, professional warehouse at the airport, including sorting and making a full inventory of donated goods. Once the aid starts to arrive in Manila the team will assist with the customs process and ensure the speedy loading of aid onto trucks or helicopters. The mission is expected to last for 3 weeks with the team changing on a weekly basis.

In Samoa, where a tsunami hit triggered by an earthquake, DHL will deploy 2 DRT volunteers for a DRT surveillance mission. Their task will be to support the UN and the local authorities to set up efficient relief operation logistics. The DRT mission is expected to leave on 3rd October.

In 2005 DHL entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in the area of Disaster Management. DHL’s global DRT network consists of three teams which are assigned to a specific geographic region covering Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and Africa. Each of these 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.

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. Up to fifteen members of the team are present at any point in time during the deployment.