The Disaster Response Team (DRT) of Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) Group saw 26 DHL volunteers provide logistics support during earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia facilitating the flow of 3,500 tonnes of relief goods.
The DRT team was in Indonesia at the request of the government through BNPB (Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).
The volunteers together with members of the United Nations (UN) facilitated logistics planning and operations across non-governmental organisations (NGOs), airport authorities and military organisations during its deployment, a first for the team. During the course of this deployment, the DRT facilitated the smooth processing and efficient flow of nearly 3,500 tonnes of relief goods.
Over the course of 23 days, the volunteers worked tirelessly in three teams during week-long rotations to support international efforts in response to the disaster in Palu, Sulawesi. As international aid poured in, the DRT coordinated efforts from public and private organisations across borders to ensure a smooth flow of aid for the quake survivors, while fostering civil military relations.
The deployment concluded last week when Indonesia’s BNPB shifted its focus from relief to recovery efforts.
On the ground, volunteers were split between operating on the runway of Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie airport in Palu, ground zero of the earthquake and tsunami which took place on 28 September 2018, and at the Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport in Balikpapan, which served as a staging airport for incoming aid.
While the team in Palu were tasked with helping to manage incoming aid for further distribution to the survivors, volunteers in Balikpapan were responsible for coordinating the supply chain of aid transportation to Palu.
“Our company purpose is to connect people and improve their lives”, says Frank Appel, CEO Deutsche Post DHL Group. “Our DRT team comprises highly trained volunteers who provide logistical expertise to help coordinate the relief aid for further distribution to the victims in the speediest manner possible.”
Carl Schelfhaut, GoHelp manager, Asia Pacific, DPDHL Group says: “This deployment was unlike others as the DRT took on the unique role of managing the transportation of aid.
“As incoming relief goods needed to be ferried from Balikpapan to Palu, and emptied-out pallets in Palu needed to be returned to their respective organisations in Balikpapan, there was a need for a central coordinator for this process. This would ensure the right aid would get to Palu at the right time for onward distribution to those most in need.”
He continues: “The DRT would organise daily briefings with non-governmental organisations and national military forces to match available aid and returning pallets with the relevant aircraft. The team also had to confirm the corresponding flight itineraries with airport authorities. We are proud to have been entrusted with such important responsibilities and we are most heartened by the relief we bring to the quake survivors.”
Agustina Tnunay (Rina), the Humanitarian Logistics Specialist of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), adds: “The Centre works closely with government and non-governmental organisations in the area of disaster management and emergency response.
“During past emergency responses, the DRT’s expertise in removing bottlenecks at airports upon the sudden influx of relief supplies was highly valued. This latest deployment has shown that the DRT is also well placed to support civil military relations in response to natural disasters.”
DPDHL Group’s DRT was in Indonesia from 4-26 October 2018 making this deployment one of its longest in the region to date, similar to the team’s 2015 involvement in the Nepal disaster response efforts.
The DRTs are part of DPDHL Group’s GoHelp disaster management programme, which it has operated in partnership with the UN since 2005. Through this partnership, the Group provides the UN and national disaster management agencies with pro bono access to its core logistics expertise, and the logistics skills of more than 500 specially-trained employee volunteers worldwide who can deploy within 72 hours after a natural disaster.
Since the partnership was launched, the DRTs have completed about 40 deployments for different natural disasters in over 20 countries – most recently the team helped the victims of Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala in June this year.
In addition to the DRT deployments, the Group’s Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) initiative – also part of the GoHelp programme – trains airport management in risk regions to be better prepared should disaster strike.