Logistics Firm, Deutsche Post DHL Group, UNDP and OCHA Partner to Boost Natural Disaster Preparedness at Madagascar’s Toamasina International Airport

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Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world’s leading mail and logistics company, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have announced a partnership to boost natural disaster preparedness at Madagascar’s Toamasina International Airport.

The organisations recently teamed up with the National Bureau for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC – Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes) and Toamasina International Airport (Aéroport de Madagascar – ADEMA) to conduct a four-day disaster preparedness workshop called Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD).

GARD was developed in 2009 by Deutsche Post DHL Group in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the aim of preparing airports in disaster-prone areas to handle the surge of incoming relief goods after a natural disaster occurs.

Held at the Toamasina International Airport in Madagascar, the program developed by Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL Group), UNDP and OCHA, with the support of WFP, aims to better prepare airports to handle the sudden surge of incoming relief goods, should a major natural disaster strike.

“Preparedness measures to respond to disasters must improve airports readiness to manage emergency humanitarian assistance, even in the worst chaotic scenarios,” said Ms. Marie Dimond, UNDP Resident Representative for Madagascar.

Only in this way humanitarian workers could properly do their work, and the country will be able to save as many lives as possible and allow aviation to meet humanity’s and sustainable development goals,” she noted.

“Using our logistics expertise and the partnership with UNDP, we have in collaboration run GARD workshops in nearly 50 airports across 25 countries and trained more than 1,200 people at airports around the world,” commented Chris Weeks, Director of Humanitarian Affairs at Deutsche Post DHL Group.

“The GARD workshop allows us to work with authorities to increase the surge capacity of airports after natural disasters. It also helps to improve the overall coordination across various organizations involved in relief efforts when a disaster hits,” he continued.

Yves Andrianaharison, Country Manager for DHL Madagascar, said that during natural calamities, the Airport becomes the center for international support after a natural disaster has hit.

“The GARD program is coordinated jointly with the national stakeholders – from airport authorities to emergency services such as the special mobile force, police helicopter squadron as well as the security manager. It is therefore vital to prepare all relevant stakeholders to be able to work hand in hand in this situation and to develop a contingency planning that will respond well to an emergency and its potential humanitarian impact,” Andrianaharison added.

Madagascar is prone to natural disasters and in particular to cyclones. As such, it is imperative the plans be developed to support the airport to be able to support natural disaster management response.

The workshop brings together representatives of all aspects of airport operations, the National Bureau for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC), United Nations agencies as well as representatives of national civil aviation authorities.

The GARD training is strongly supported by the BNGRC and ADEMA, greatly facilitated by OCHA and UNDP country office, three of whom were the main stakeholders involved in the request of Madagascar to be part of the list of countries in which GARD workshops have been run.

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