Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) Group has deployed its Disaster Response Team (DRT) to Indonesia in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. One team will be stationed at Balikpapan airport (BPN) which is the main staging area for international aid and another at earthquake and tsunami-stricken city of Palu.
The DRT is there to support the humanitarian response to the island which has seen nearly 1,000 villages affected by the disaster. The death toll has risen to more than 1,400 and is expected to climb higher still with hundreds of people injured and over 60,000 have lost their homes.
Urgently needed goods such as technical equipment, water, tents, fuel and food are currently being flown to Balikpapan. DPDHL Group’s DRT provides logistics support in close collaboration with local staff and humanitarian organisations at local airports. They are helping to manage incoming aid for further distribution to those in need.
On 4 October the DRT received the official mandate from the government of Indonesia through BNPB (Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management) and ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) to support with humanitarian logistics in Palu, ground zero of the tsunami on the island of Sulawesi, and in Balikpapan, a seaport city on the east coast of the island of Borneo.
Two DRT teams are being set up to support the request, one at Balikpapan where its international airport will function as the staging area for incoming international assistance into Palu, and the other at a distribution centre close to the airport in Palu to handle and store relief goods. More DHL volunteers are on standby and ready for deployment once the government has coordinated the flow of international aid into Indonesia.
Carl Schelfhaut, GoHelp manager, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Post DHL Group leads both teams. He explains: “The situation in Palu on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia is still dire with power outages, water shortages and increasing reported incidents of looting.
“Due to a collapse of the tower at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport, only very small propeller aircraft and military airplanes can land. That is why Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport in Balikpapan is being set up as the main humanitarian relief hub where sourcing and sorting of incoming relief goods will take place.
“With the airport in Palu partially ready to receive goods, the Indonesia National Armed Forces, along with selected foreign forces from countries like Australia, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore are ferrying C-130 and C-17 type aircraft from Balikpapan to Palu. These aircraft will serve the dual purpose of transporting aid to Palu and then returning with evacuees. The DRT will be on-site in both locations to assist with ground handling,” Schelfhaut adds.
Through its DRT teams, who work on the ground together with local staff as well as national and international humanitarian organisations, offloading goods from aircraft pallets, loading them onto standard wooden pallets, and then storing them in warehouses until they can be forwarded on, DPDHL Group provides life-saving logistics support.
“Managing relief goods logistics is crucial in the aftermath of natural disasters. As a logistics company we have the skills that can save lives – we help ensure that relief goods are processed quickly so that they reach the people affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami as quickly as possible,” adds Schelfhaut.