TEHRAN, IRAN, November 23, 2017 - Deutsche Post DHL Group and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company will carry out the Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) program at Mehrabad International Airport from 25 to 29 November 2017. Deutsche Post DHL Group and UNDP are working with Iran's airport and government authorities, representatives of humanitarian response experts to better prepare Iran's airports for future natural disasters.
Airports are central to ensuring lifesaving support reach impacted communities in the most seamless and fastest way possible. In 2009, GARD was developed by Deutsche Post DHL Group in cooperation with the UNDP with the aim of preparing airports in disaster-prone areas to handle the surge of incoming relief goods after a calamity occurs. It also enables the various organizations and aid agencies to better understand the processes at the airport in the aftermath of a disaster, which will help facilitate relief efforts and enhance overall coordination. To date, GARD workshops have been held at more than 40 airports. Over 40 officials and experts will participate in the five-day GARD workshop in Tehran, starting 25 November, which will be led by specialists from Deutsche Post DHL Group and UNDP. During the workshop, the participants and trainers will evaluate the current level of preparedness at the airport, conduct training exercises, and develop specific recommendations and an action plan that ensures Mehrabad International Airport is prepared for future disasters.
"By developing strong and effective contingency plans to manage the flow of emergency relief goods to the people in need, the GARD workshop will enable airport operators and aid-related organizations to act more effectively in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Preparedness is key in ensuring such effective response and the GARD workshop aims to support the Iranian government in mitigating the impact of any future disasters," said Chris Weeks, Director of Humanitarian Affairs for DHL.
Iran, being situated in one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world, means it is highly susceptible to droughts, earthquakes, floods and industrial incidents. Forest fires and sand and dust storms increasingly affect different parts of the country. Iran's main concern however continues to be seismic risk. Due to its particular location in the Alpine-Himalayan mountain system, the Islamic Republic of Iran is also highly vulnerable to numerous and often severe earthquakes such as the one that hit western parts of the country on 12 November 2017. According to news reports, the 7.3-magnitude earthquake, which struck in a populated region on the border of Iran-Iraq where more than 1.8 million people live, is estimated to have taken the lives of about 500 people and injured another 7,460. It is by far the deadliest earthquake to strike Iran since 2012, and most lethal in the world in 2017.
As part of the current GARD workshop, Deutsche Post DHL Group's aviation experts, UNDP leaders and Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company representatives will equip participants with best-practice logistics management during natural disasters and work with them to devise customized disaster-response plans for the airport. The workshop will also raise awareness of Disaster Risk Reduction, which taps on Deutsche Post DHL Group's extensive logistics experience to focus on surge capacity so that airports better handle the overwhelming international support that they receive after a disaster, and identify priorities for investment in national infrastructure, which could further improve the resilience of emergency supply chains during a disaster.