Getting Airports Ready for Disaster in Bangladesh: Readiness is the New Response
Bangladesh sits in the low-lying Ganges Delta, at risk of flooding from monsoon rains and melt waters from the Himalayas. Situated east of India along the fault line of the Eurasian and Indo-Australian plates, it is prone to frequent earthquakes and is battered by cyclones from the Gulf of Bengal. While preventing natural disasters is impossible, improving the response to these events is not. Enter GARD, Deutsche Post DHL’s (DPDHL) Get Airports Ready for Disaster program.
As part of the Group’s disaster management initiative GoHelp, GARD is staffed by professional DHL trainers who train local airport staff and national disaster management personnel. They help boost local logistics capacity to prevent airport congestion in the wake of incoming relief goods after a natural disaster.
Helping people help themselves
The program was recently rolled out at airports in Dhaka and Chittagong, Bangladesh. “My GARD training was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” says Nooruddin Chowdhury, the DHL Global Forwarding Country Manager for Bangladesh and a GARD participant. “It’s about ensuring international donations of water, food, medicines and shelter get to those in need. And it’s about helping people to help themselves, to be better prepared to cope when disaster strikes.”
GARD was developed in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to train airport staff, local security officials and national disaster management personnel in airside logistics to cope with surges of relief goods. Building on first-hand experience from Disaster Response Team (DRT) deployments, it stresses the need for disaster prone regions and their airports to be prepared.
Good for society, good for the Group
Bangladesh is the third GARD beneficiary after Indonesia and Nepal. The trainers – all aviation, logistics and training experts from DPDHL – instructed some 20 participants at Dhaka international airport and at a smaller airfield in the port city of Chittagong. In a four-day program, trainees learned to assess local relief surge capacities, then drew up detailed surge capacity reports to enable the country’s airports to handle a sudden influx of aid supplies.
GARD places the DPDHL Group’s core business expertise in a humanitarian setting. Our global presence and insight into national structures allow us to assist UN relief efforts anywhere in the world. And doing good for society means doing good for the Group: GARD is popular not just among our volunteers, but among our entire workforce.