DHL GARD (Get Airports Ready for Disaster) is an initiative of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world’s leading mail logistics group supported and funded by the UNDP and the German government. The training aims to prepare airports in disaster-prone areas to handle the surge of incoming relief goods and traffic after disasters. GARD was launched in 2009 as part of the GoHelp program in which the Deutsche Post DHL Group pools all of its activities related to disaster preparedness and management.
The training has been conducted at 33 airports around the world since it was developed and more than 650 participants have been trained within the scope of the program so far.
Seychelles was the 34th country to benefit, with some 40 people including managers from airport operations, aviation safety experts as well as representatives of key disaster management authorities following the four-day exercise. ** Ian Moncherry, DHL Seychelles Manager attended the training, **
Chris Weeks, DHL director of Humanitarian Affairs led the training, the main purpose of which is to strengthen the Seychelles International Airport’s capacity to handle logistical challenges in the aftermath of natural disasters, say another, more severe tsunami for example. The training was held at Eden Bleu Hotel on Eden Island.
The wide range of functions and stakeholders present at the training meant that this was an excellent platform for discussion, information sharing and collaborative learning. The various organizations and aid agencies were able to better understand the processes which would need to take place in the wake of a disaster, which should essentially facilitate relief efforts and enhance overall coordination.
Having undertaken the GARD training exercise, Seychelles Airport Authorities and all other relevant aid authorities now have a framework complete with target deadlines, from which to compile a national action plan in the event of a natural disaster.