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The DHL Disaster Response Team has shown that they can handle several disasters simultaneously


All within a matter of days, storms raged, the earth shook and tsunamis washed over the land, killing thousands and rendering many more without adequate food, water and shelter. Thanks to the support of the DHL Disaster Response Team, relief supplies were able to reach those in need fast in the Philippines, Samoa and Indonesia.

“This multi-deployment has shown that we can handle several disasters simultaneously in a large geographical area,” says Matt Hemy, Vice President, Security & Crisis Management, DHL Express Asia Pacific. “We can send in the teams, establish operations and add value to relief efforts. During these operations, we have seen the efforts of the past three years really come to fruition. We have established excellent networks and a strong reputation with government and relief organisations.”

While the deployments in Samoa and Indonesia have concluded, 10 DRT members will continue to support relief efforts until October 25 in the Philippines. The team has handled hundreds of tons of relief goods, including food, hygiene articles, water purification units, tents and tarps. The team not only unloads shipments and handles storage, they have been actively involved in internal distribution as well, loading relief goods onto helicopters to bring needed supplies directly to those affected.

Goods have come in from aid organisations such as the UN’s World Food Program (WFP), USAID, Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and OXFAM, with further shipments expected. A large load arrived on October 17 from the WFP with 100 tons of high-energy biscuits. The UN organisation was impressed by DHL’s smooth operation.

“Having the DHL DRT on the ground has been an incredible asset,” says Matthew Hollingworth, Head of the Global Logistics Cluster Support Cell, UN World Food Program. “Their knowledge and initiative got things up and running fast when there was no time to waste. This partnership really facilitated the operation. We hope they will be by our side in future operations.”

Christopher M. Hoffman, Project Officer, International Organization for Migration (IOM) MRF Manila – last mile (UN), agrees: “The DRT mission in the Philippines was exactly the help we needed to off load, store and organise emergency humanitarian aid shipments during the response to typhoon Ondoy. They were quick, efficient and friendly and in such a high stress situation, a partnership like that is priceless.”

Indonesia and Samoa

“In Indonesia, we were able to deploy to the field very quickly,” explains Hemy. “We soon discovered that the volumes were not as high as expected. This resulted in a surplus of NGOs and logistics support so we decided that our resources could be better used in the Philippines and concluded the deployment early.” Deployment in Indonesia also brought DHL’s Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) program to bear. The GARD pilot took place in August 2009 in Indonesia with training exercises. One of the men trained in the program, Mr. Mulatno Msi. Logistic Director for Philippine Disaster Management Agency, was responsible for the reception of relief aid following the earthquakes in October and was able to directly apply what he learned.

In Samoa, which was hit by a tsunami triggered by an earthquake, DHL sent two DRT volunteers for a surveillance mission. The DRT volunteers provided support to the United Nations (UN) and the local authorities to set up efficient relief operation logistics and concluded its mission on October 12. The Prime Minister of Samoa has welcomed the support of the team and expressed interest in a permanent Memorandum of Understanding.