DHL prepares an airport in Armenia for emergencies

Oct 7, 2013

At the opening ceremony in the UN House

  • “Get Airports Ready for Disaster” training program in Yerevan
  • 20 airports worldwide have already received training

Bonn/Yerevan, October 7, 2013: Deutsche Post DHL is taking its GARD program (“Get Airports Ready for Disaster”) to the Zvartnots international airport in the Armenian capital of Yerevan and the Gyumri regional airport in the northwestern part of the country. The training will take place from October 7 -10 and will prepare airport personnel and infrastructure for the special logistical challenges that accompany natural disasters. The training demonstrates how logistics capacities and local expertise can be optimally utilized, bottlenecks prevented and inbound relief supplies handled quickly and efficiently after an extreme natural event.

Twenty-five years ago, Armenia was hit by a devastating earthquake that left some 25,000 people dead. One of the 60 most disaster-prone countries in the world, the country faces a heightened risk of natural catastrophes, including earthquakes, drought and flooding.

“Again and again, we have experienced that natural disasters pose special challenges for logistics in particular and create an urgent need for help,” said Christof Ehrhart, Director of Corporate Communications und Responsibility at Deutsche Post DHL. “Our GARD initiative is designed to provide our logistics know-how to local experts in a timely fashion and thus make the work following a natural disaster easier.”

After conducting successful GARD trainings in Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Turkey, El Salvador, the Philippines and Panama, DHL, the world’s leading transport and logistics company, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will head to Yerevan and Gyumri and provide emergency preparedness training to its 22nd airport.

“Lessons from the devastating earthquake in 1988 forced national authorities to reconsider their response to natural disasters. For almost a decade, UNDP has been supporting national counterparts to increase awareness, to promote disaster preparedness and risk reduction, to establish the concept of national disaster management; as well as to change institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks. Substantial progress has been made -a National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and Action Plan have been developed and a National Platform was officially adopted by the government,” said Claire Medina, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Armenia.

“Airports are considered one of the most important and strategic objects of any country and their role in emergency preparedness and response is outstanding. Recently the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Armenia took control over the “Stepanavan” airport in the northern part of Armenia. It will be reconstructed and used for humanitarian purposes! The GARD training will improve the skills of the airport's personnel and cooperation between airports and Ministry,” said Sergey Azaryan, General-Major and Head of Rescue Service, Ministry of Emergency Situations –Armenia.

As part of the program, airport staff and representatives of local agencies and government authorities will assess the local site and develop customized and detailed emergency response plans. Employees from different local airports took part in previous training sessions so that they could apply what they learned at their own facilities. Participants will include the Zvartnots airport staff as well as security officials and government agency representatives. This will ensure that every participant in the logistics operations internalizes the training.

“GARD is a very praxis-oriented initiative that makes the work at airports after a disaster more efficient,” said Edward Kaspersky, Managing Director of DHL Armenia. “The training makes it possible for us to work hand-in-hand with Armenian airport employees. We are pleased to be able to make a contribution here.”

The GARD training program was created in 2009 by Deutsche Post DHL and UNDP. It was developed on the basis of the personal experiences of DHL Disaster Response Teams and UN personnel made during relief operations, and aims at the fast and effective processing of relief goods. The program is conducted by experienced trainers and logistics experts from Deutsche Post DHL. 

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Armenia 
Go to UNDP Global