Shipping company, UN launch disaster relief supply team in Singapore

21 April 2006

The international shipping company DHL, together with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today launched a standing programme based in Singapore to ensure that the right relief supplies reach people quickly in the case of a major natural disaster.

The international shipping company DHL, together with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today launched a standing programme based in Singapore to ensure that the right relief supplies reach people quickly in the case of a major natural disaster.

The DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) is a pool of some 80 regular DHL employees who have volunteered and been trained to reduce bottlenecks at airports close to the scene of a major natural disaster by helping to organize the handling, warehousing and loading of relief supplies for onward transportation.

“Logistics is often the linchpin in disaster response, the make or break. Getting help to people in need is critical and for this we need a smooth supply chain,” said United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland.

It is planned that the team will be deployed for a period of up to three weeks following a major natural disaster.

DHL employees provided humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, after Hurricane Katrina in the United States in the summer of 2005 and following last year’s South Asian earthquake in Pakistan.

In December 2005, DHL entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and OCHA in the area of disaster management. It is the aim of DHL and OCHA to establish a global network of Disaster Response Teams, OCHA said.

“By setting up Disaster Response Teams, DHL is enhancing its commitment to support the United Nations and the international community’s humanitarian work on a long-term basis,” said Dr. Klaus Zumwinkel, Chairman and CEO of Deutsche Post World Net, mother company of DHL, which is providing the DRT’s services as an in-kind donation.

Singapore has been chosen as the site for the South Asia DRT due to its central location in the region and its excellent telecommunications and logistics infrastructure. The next Disaster Response Team will be established in Miami, Florida, covering the Latin America and Caribbean regions, according to OCHA.

 

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