Deutsche Post DHL has sent in the first logistics team for on-the-ground logistics support to the international relief effort in Haiti. The DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) Americas is preparing to operate out of Toussaint L’ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince to manage the logistics and thereby ensure the continuous flow of inbound freight at the airport, including the transfer and distribution of incoming relief goods, once roads are stable. It will carry out its activities in close cooperation with the United Nations (UN).
“DHL is committed to providing unwavering support to the people of Haiti and our employees and their families during this devastating situation. We will do our utmost to make sure adequate food and medical supplies are delivered from the international airport to the people,” said Frank Appel, chief executive officer of Deutsche Post DHL.
The DHL team in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is preparing to handle a variety of unsolicited relief goods such as tents, tarpaulins, food, clothing, medicines and water purifying equipment. DHL is aiming at building up a temporary, professional warehouse at the airport, including sorting facilities and making a full inventory of donated goods.
Part of the team’s tasks is to also ensure the speedy loading of aid onto trucks or helicopters. The mission is expected to last for several weeks.
“The DRT was designed to respond to devastating situations like these and is committed to helping the people of Haiti. Its members are well-trained to provide hands-on effective logistics support to help the victims of natural disasters in the time of need,” said Chris Weeks, DHL Director of Humanitarian Affairs.
“However this disaster is going to require exceptional logistics skills as the country had poor infrastructure even before the earthquake struck,” continued Weeks.
DHL Disaster Response Teams
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. These specially trained groups of volunteers are comprised of DHL employees across all divisions, including DHL Express and DHL Global Forwarding.
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 earthquakes 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 will remain on the ground until the situation has improved to the extent that the initial wave of international charter aircraft bringing in aid supplies has subsided to a level that is manageable by local authorities.