PLANTATION, Fla.–Deutsche Post DHL Group is sending a Disaster Response Team (DRT) to Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The worst major hurricane in fifty years with sustained winds of 145 mph hit the southwestern coast of the island, which is still struggling to recover from the large-scale earthquake in 2010. With immediate effect, the DRT volunteers will provide pro bono logistics support at Toussaint L’ouverture International Airport. They will coordinate incoming international aid, preparing it for onward transportation to areas affected by the hurricane.
“In the aftermath of hurricane ‘Matthew’ Haiti may be facing a severe humanitarian crisis. Although it is still too early to assess the full extent of the losses and destruction, the DRT is on the ground and ready to facilitate the logistics of incoming relief goods and to secure a fast processing of the supplies,” says Gilberto Castro, Manager of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Disaster Response Team Americas. It is the second time the DRT Americas, based in Panama, starts operating in Port-au-Prince within 48 hours after receiving the request for support. In January 2010 the DRTs were already deployed after Haiti was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake leaving behind 230,000 dead and more than 1,000,000 affected people.
The DRTs are part of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s GoHelp disaster management program, which it has operated in partnership with the United Nations (UN) since 2005. Within that partnership, the Group provides the UN with pro bono access to its core logistics expertise, its global transportation network and the logistics skills of more than 400 specially trained volunteer employees who can deploy within 72 hours. Since the partnership was launched, the DRTs have completed more than 30 deployments – most recently in April 2016 following the serious earthquake in Ecuador and after the tropical storm that hit the Fiji Islands in February this year. In addition to the DRT deployments, the Group’s Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) initiative – also part of the GoHelp program – helps airports in risk regions to be better prepared should disaster strike.