Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world’s leading logistics provider, has deployed their Disaster Response Team (DRT) in Suva Airport, Fiji, following the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Winston. An initial team of seven volunteers will arrive today and will work alongside the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to coordinate relief logistics out of Suva Airport.
Belinda Tan, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Responsibility, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, DHL, said: “Cyclone Winston’s impact is becoming more apparent, and we see that the scale and severity of damage requires immediate response. Our team of highly trained DRT volunteers will provide specialist logistics support at the Suva Airport to facilitate the fast and efficient distribution of aid to the NGOs for their further distribution to those in need.”
Mark Butcher, Area Manager for GoHelp in Oceania is leading the DRT deployment in Fiji, with DHL volunteers from Australia and New Zealand who will be based at the Suva Airport to provide logistical expertise and support to ensure the smooth delivery of cargo and relief aid to NGOs for their further distribution to the communities.
Carl Schelfhaut, Head of International Relations and Disaster Management, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Post DHL Group, said: “In any natural disaster situation, airports need to avoid bottlenecks if they are to deliver timely relief to those whose basic necessities and livelihoods have been dealt a major blow. Our volunteers are no stranger to the complexity posed by Fiji’s myriad islands, having managed everything from unloading to forward transportation of relief goods when Vanuatu was struck by Cyclone Pam last year. That experience will prove invaluable in reaching Fiji’s most affected communities and helping them cope with the fallout of Cyclone Winston.”
Apart from the deployment of the DRT, DHL Express, with the support of Mark Komene, Country Manager for DHL Express in Fiji, has provided four vehicles to assist in aid distribution in Nadi and Fiji’s capital city Suva. DHL has also designated its offices across Fiji as “public drop points” where members of the public can donate clothes, blankets, outdoor equipment, food, and other aid resources.
GoHelp is the disaster management program of Deutsche Post DHL Group and comprises disaster preparedness through the program “Get Airports Ready for Disaster” (GARD) and disaster response via the Disaster Response Teams (DRTs). In a partnership with the United Nations since 2005, Deutsche Post DHL Group provides the UN with access to its core competence in logistics, its global network and the know-how of its employees free of charge.
To date, GARD was implemented jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to more than 30 local airports in 16 countries: Armenia, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritius, Nepal, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Turkey and Sri Lanka. In cooperation with UN OCHA, Deutsche Post DHL Group also established a global network of Disaster Response Teams (DRT) to support airports in case of a natural disaster. The DRT network consists of over 400 trained DHL volunteers, who can be deployed within 72 hours. Since 2005, the DRTs have been deployed over 30 times worldwide, with the most recent deployment to Nepal following two catastrophic earthquakes in April 2015.