Sri Lanka airport staff get ready for disasters

COLOMBO, Dec 04, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Mail and logistics group Deutsche Post DHL has begun disaster relief logistics training of Sri Lankan staff at airports which can be overwhelmed with aid during a crisis if not handled properly.

“Over the years we have conducted numerous disaster relief management exercises and have come to understand that efficient airport logistics are critical to getting aid to the people who need it," said Chris Weeks, Director of Humanitarian Affairs for DHL.

"Airports can quickly become overwhelmed with the large volume of incoming relief supplies, and this can delay – or even stop – the onward transport of lifesaving supplies."

The island’s first Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) training workshop in Colombo was launched Tuesday to prepare airport personnel for post-disaster logistics situations.

A statement said 34 staff of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) are learning to assess local requirements and create detailed contingency plans.

The training was arranged with support from the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“We are acutely aware of the significance of this training for Sri Lanka as it marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami later this month, said Dhammika Wijesuriya, Airport Safety Manager of the BIA.

"The GARD initiative is our way of being able to pass on our logistics expertise to local communities so they may be able to operate swiftly despite the high-pressure challenges they may face in times of disaster,” explained DHL’s Weeks.

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