Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading postal and logistics services group, have sent 10 volunteers, who are members of its Disaster Response Team (DRT), to the central Philippines in the wake of the devastation wrought by super typhoon “Haiyan”. They are helping with on-the-ground airport logistics, setting up a warehouse to help sort relief goods.
The aid is then transported to the people in need as quickly as possible. The members of the DRT are operating at the regional MactanCebuAirport on Cebu island right next to the country’s most affected Leyte island. The team has handled goods carried on three to seven aircraft per day. Relief items comprise blankets, sanitary items, tents, food and tins. In addition, various agencies, like Oxfam and the British Department for International Development, sent water purification equipment, transmitters and vehicles to remove debris.
According to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), over 10 million people are affected and more than 660,000 are displaced. Officials in LeyteProvince are reporting that thousands have died in TaclobanCity in the most affected area alone. The region is in desperate need of water, food, medicine, shelter, hygiene and sanitation.
“The situation in the Philippines, and in particular in Leyte province, is simply devastating, and there is a critical need to provide food and water to the people affected as quickly as possible.” said Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel. “Our Disaster Response Team is trained to provide logistics support to the relief effort at local airports following a natural disaster and we welcome this opportunity to contribute our knowledge and skills now in the Philippines.
“We know that in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, regional airport logistics can very often encounter bottlenecks which delay the delivery of life-sustaining relief supplies for victims.”
The DHL team, together with other humanitarian partners, has prepared a temporary professional warehouse at the Mactan Cebu airport for the now increasing influx of goods. The DRT handled incoming freight, made a full inventory and ensured the speedy loading of the most critical supplies onto trucks or helicopters. Because roads are blocked or completely destroyed – and because regular access to the smaller islands is limited – the DRT has provided so-called DHL Speedballs, special bags with basic relief goods that can be dropped from helicopters. Philippine airport staff were packing 300 Speedballs a day to be distributed to the affected region.
“Our DRT members are well trained to provide hands-on, effective logistics support,” said Chris Weeks, DHL Director of Humanitarian Affairs. “The specific challenge in the Philippines is the complete destruction of infrastructure and the geography with its many islands.”
In co-operation with UNOCHA, Deutsche Post DHL established a global network of Disaster Response Teams (DRT) in 2005 to support airports in the event of a disaster. The DRT network consists of more than 400 trained employees, who have registered as volunteers and spans the three regions Americas, Middle East/Africa and Asia-Pacific to be as close as possible to affected areas.
DRT teams provide logistical support at airports, free of charge, conducting professional warehousing and inventory management, as well as loading relief goods for onward transportation. From the time they were established, the DRTs have provided logistical support as part of more than 20 deployments worldwide; three among them have been on the Philippines.