In the wake of a disaster such as an earthquake or flooding, airports in or near the affected area quickly become vital staging points for the flow of relief supplies. Preparation of airports is vital to ensure that assistance reaches the disaster victims quickly.

Deutsche Post DHL Group, making available its expertise in logistics, partnered with the United Nations Development Programme to prepare airport personnel and local disaster managers for the logistical challenge of a disaster response.

In Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) workshops, DHL air freight experts help improve local processes for dispatching and processing large volumes of incoming relief workers and supplies.

More than 40 airports and 1,000 participants around the world have been trained, and the programme continues to grow.

A workshop was held in Manila in the Philippines for Davao International Airport Authority, the National Disaster Risk Management Council, government officials, representatives of the military and other humanitarian response experts. The country lies on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, which makes it susceptible to earthquakes, typhoons and other types of disasters.

The airport’s surge capacity for goods and passengers was assessed and possible bottlenecks identified; measures were then developed to
quickly increase airport capacity and avoid such logjams in the event of a disaster. The customised disaster-response plan, drafted during the workshop, takes into account the conditions specific to the airport, such as architecture and geography. For this reason, the workshops always take place directly at the airport.

A network of more than 35 airlines and 80-plus international non-profits work through Airlink, which has responded to many rapid-onset disasters, including typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Airlink has transported more than 1,300 tonnes of cargo
and over 4,000 passengers at a value of more than $6,000,000 in support of a range of humanitarian initiatives.