UNDP and DHL prepare airport staff for disaster

Sep 9, 2014

Deutsche Post DHL and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a “Get Airports Ready for Disaster” (GARD) workshop at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman/Jordan. Running from September 7th – 10th, the workshop prepares airport personnel for the logistics of emergencies, including handling high volumes of incoming goods and passengers in the aftermath of a disaster. The 30 participants are a mix of staff from airport operations, air traffic control, security and relevant disaster management agencies that play a vital role in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Deutsche Post DHL’s GARD program was developed in cooperation with UNDP five years ago and aims to prepare airports in disaster-prone areas to handle a disaster-related surge in people and goods. GARD trainers are DHL experts in the field who conduct the training on a pro bono basis and provide relevant materials while UNDP manages the project, leads the coordination with local government authorities, and provides funds to shoulder workshop costs. Up to today more than 430 airport workers in 25 airports around the world have been trained.

 “In case of natural disasters, airports turn into vital hubs to accommodate the incoming relief goods. Through the GARD workshops, Deutsche Post DHL and UNDP jointly work with authorities worldwide to analyze and define the capacities needed. Most importantly, it helps all parties involved to develop a blueprint specific to each location in times of disaster”, said Christof Ehrhart, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications and Responsibility at Deutsche Post DHL.

Ms. Majida Assaf, deputy of UNDP country director highlighted the importance of the GARD procedures and said: "the program is very distinctive in its nature and it doesn’t only gets them prepared but it builds the capacity of the airport staff to and enable them to develop plans that would eliminate the negative impact of disasters if happened and also it helps them to recover quickly and efficiently after a disaster".

On his part, Kailed Banger, Chief Executive Officer for "Airport International Group (AIG) said:" "Due to the active role played by Jordan in facilitating humanitarian efforts of regional in addition to the importance of the Queen Alia International Airport as the main airport of the kingdom, ensuring its readiness is in the face of disasters is always a priority of ours".

Mahmoud Haj Hussein, director of DHL in Jordan talked about the program, and said: "In the case of disasters airports becomes vital centers and needs to accommodate the relief coming from different countries as well as to deal with the pressure happens due to the evacuations procedures that might be needed and the pressure put on devices and facilities,  and that is itself a challenge to airports to response effectively and quickly but with such training as in the GARD, UNDP works with Deutsche Post DHL closely and jointly with other authorities to analyze and determine the capacity and needs to respond to situations of natural disasters in a prober and professional ways that would ease the situation." He also added that the program helps all parties concerned to develop a specific plan to each part of the airport and not only a general plan to the whole airport."

When natural disasters strike, airports become vital hubs and important gateways for aid supplies that are meant to reach disaster victims quickly. Passenger volumes also rise in times of crisis. If this isn’t managed properly it can cause bottle necks for aid delivery and stall the distribution of relief. During workshops, airport specialists from DHL and representatives from UNDP work with participants from airports and emergency services on a crisis plan. This plan highlights efficient and practical contingencies for handling a surge in international relief goods and humanitarian personnel following a disaster. The workshop also considers the implications of extensive damage to airport infrastructure and/or a loss of staff and capacity due to earthquake, floods, hurricanes or tsunami.

To date, GARD workshops have been conducted in Armenia, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nepal, Panama, Peru, the Philippines and Turkey, training at least 430 people.

Contact information

Khuzaima Jaber
Communications Officer

UNDP Around the world

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