Nepal relief effort continues
15 / 05 / 2015
Continuing earthquakes in Nepal are affecting relief efforts as logistics teams ramp-up their efforts to ensure aid reaches the most vulnerable areas.
In an update on the situation in Nepal, the DHL disaster response team outlined the difficulties the relief effort has faced since a 7.8 magnitude quake struck the country on April 25 and a second 7.3 magnitude quake struck on May 12.
Tribhuvan Kathmandu International airport’s capacity and a lack of equipment and resources had been affecting the delivery of relief goods to those in need, DHL said.
The airport has one runway servicing both passenger and cargo aircraft, with a 196 ton cargo weight restriction per plane.
Fast unloading at the small airport and expert warehousing has been key to keeping the airport open and ensuring the right equipment gets to the appropriate relief agencies as fast as possible.
Deutsche Post DHL director for humanitarian affairs Chris Weeks said the logistics operation was improving, although aftershocks and the second quake have caused issues.
“When we first arrived, we had a big job to do in cleaning up the congested tarmac area which was filled with relief supplies – this is critical in an emergency situation,” he said.
“If we hadn’t done this, it’s likely the airport would have closed within the first 48 hours of the earthquake because the airport would have run out of space and equipment, and non-governmental organisations would have been unable to locate their aid and relief goods.
“We implemented a system to maximise the use of limited resources for ongoing relief efforts.
“Working closely with the civil aviation authorities, local military, international aid organisations and the UN, we have clarity on the daily flights coming in.
“We also set up processes to meet the cargo at the airside to make the necessary arrangements in the fastest possible time.”
He added: “We are faced with recurring strong earthquakes – this indicates that relief efforts will have to continue for quite some time.”
The DHL team has been involved in coordinating the arrival and distribution of food, shelter, medicines and water including over 3m high-energy biscuits from the US Department of Agriculture, a 35-ton inflatable hospital from Medecin sans Frontieres, solar lamps, tools for rebuilding and plastic sheeting.
It also managed one chartered DHL plane carrying goods donated by sponsors from the Middle East.
Overall, the team has handled over 2,000 tons of incoming relief supplies, sorting and moving goods with limited equipment into centralised airside warehouses run by the United Nations World Food Programme.