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DPDHL, UNDP strenghen Guwahati Airport’s disaster management

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India’s North East region, one of the world’s most disaster-prone areas, will benefit from a disaster preparedness program developed by Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Get Airports Ready for Disaster or GARD aims to improve prepare airports to handle the surge of incoming relief goods, should disaster strike. Guwahati International Airport in Assam will host the first GARD programme to be held in India from December 8 to 11, 2015.

Speaking at the event, Jaco Cilliers, director, UNDP India, said, “During disasters, airports frequently become the logistical hub where relief and emergency supplies are distributed. However, airports are often not equipped to handle the huge volumes of goods and surge traffic that follows in the immediate aftermath of any disaster. Therefore, enhancing the preparedness of airports is vital to ensure business continuity and smooth rescue and relief efforts.”

Chris Weeks, director, humanitarian affairs, DHL, said, “Through these GARD workshops, DHL is able to work together with authorities all over the world to analyse and define the capacities needed at airports in case of natural disasters and improve the overall coordination across various organisations involved in relief efforts. Leveraging our logistics expertise and partnership with UNDP, we have completed over 30 GARD workshops at airports around the world.”

India’s North East region is among the most seismically active region and considered as the sixth major earthquake-prone belt in the world.

RS Subramanian, senior vice president and country manager, DHL Express India, said, “During natural calamities, the Guwahati International Airport becomes a critical nerve center as it is the only airport catering to international air travel to India’s North East region. This program being the first for India will help to develop a blueprint specific to the country in times of disaster.”

During the GARD workshop, participants will brainstorm and develop action plans on how to better prepare airport personnel for emergencies caused by natural disasters. This includes being able to address the often high volumes of emergency relief aid, incoming goods and passengers in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Participants include a mix of staff from the airport’s terminal management team, including cargo handling, operations, communications, navigation services, electric, civil and electric engineering, fire and security services, immigration, customs and district officials. Organisations involved in disaster relief such as the National Disaster Management Authority, Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the Indian Air Force and the International Organization for Migration are also participating in the workshop.

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