The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the courier company DHL , in partnership with the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCCC) in Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) conducted a workshop on Getting Airports Ready for Disasters (GARD) for the period 14th to 18th Apr.
The workshop aimed to prepare airports personnel to handle the logistical situations in post-disasters. The five-day workshop provided training to 30 staff from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah International airports and employees from relevant government agencies.
The attendees jointly identified the areas that could potentially serve as key locations for disaster logistics operations in the two airports, the workshop also evaluated the airports’ capacities for processing high volumes of passengers, cargos and warehousing relief supplies.
The Director General of KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, Ministry of Interior, Mr. Hoshang Mohamed said:
“We are very pleased with this partnership and we welcome this first-of-its kind initiative of “GARD” as it will further enhance our crisis management capacities to respond to disaster-affected people on time, through expediting and fast-tracking the importation and movement of relief items, and humanitarian assistance as well as the entry and exit of the humanitarian personnel. We extend our thanks to UNDP Iraq and DHL for conducting this programme”.
Vice President, Humanitarian Services of Deutsche Post DHL Group, Mr. Chris Weeks said:
“We at DHL see it over and over again – airports quickly get overwhelmed by the chaos of incoming relief aid, UN and NGO personnel, military organizations and the crowds of people trying to leave. Sometimes, humanitarian aids arrives faster than airport can arrange for it to get out, causing a massive bottleneck in the flow of relief logistics. Timing is critical during disasters and the more efficient an airport is at processing incoming aircraft, the faster aids can get out to those in need. We are really proud to conduct our first GARD workshop in Iraq”.
Officer in Charge of UNDP Iraq Mr. Vakhtang Svanidze stated that:
“The threat of natural disasters remain high. Recently due to torrential rains, the country continues to witness large scale floods which have claimed lives, displaced people and destroyed properties. The Dam of Mosul poses significant risks to the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable communities along Tigris flood plain”.
Since 2009 nearly 50 GARD workshops have been held in 24 countries for nearly 1,160 trainees. In the Middle East, workshops were previously held in Tehran (2017), Almaty (2017), Aqaba (2016), Amman (2014), Yerevan (2013) and Beirut (2012). Through the joint work of UNDP and DHL, the GARD workshop is being conducted now in Iraq for the first time.