On the ground in 72 hours & offering disaster management expertise
In cooperation with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), we have trained over 400 employee volunteers to serve in one of three Disaster Response Teams (DRT) for the regions Asia-Pacific, Middle East/Africa and the Americas. When we receive a call from the UN requesting support, the regional DRT is deployed immediately and is on the ground in the disaster zone no more than 72 hours later.
At the airport, our employees assume various logistics responsibilities: they unload air cargo paletts, warehouse relief supplies, perform inventory and ensure the orderly distribution to the aid organizations working in the disaster zone. The DRTs often prepare DHL Speedballs – waterproof bags filled with vital relief supplies that can be airdropped from helicopters.
In 2013, our teams were deployed to Chile in response to the forest fires and to the Philippines in the wake of the devastating typhoon Haiyan. A total of 65 volunteers were deployed over a total of 29 days.
Our teams not only need to be able to perform hard physical work, they also need to have the poise and experience to handle a wide range of logistics challenges under exceptional circumstances. We conduct regular training courses to make sure our employees are deployment-ready. During the reporting year, some 140 employees took part in four such measures. For the upcoming year, we plan to conduct at least one training in each of our three DRT regions.
So far we have signed bilateral memoranda of understanding with 11 countries in disaster-prone regions. The purpose of these agreements is to increase the speed and effectiveness of a possible deployment by clearly defining tasks and assigning responsibilities in advance. The agreements also allow the governments of these partner countries to request the support of our DRTs directly. During the reporting year, a new agreement was signed with Panama’s international airport.