Chile

DHL supports earthquake relief efforts in Chile

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Bonn/Santiago, 03/10/2010, 04:45 PM CET

The Disaster Response Team prepares special bags with food and water supplies.

Only a few days after an earthquake hit the central Chilean region around the city of Concepcíon, DHL stepped in with its DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) to help the local Chilean authorities to transport relief goods to areas that were particularly hard hit by the earthquake.

The DRT consists out of six core team members and a group of over 140 volunteers of the DHL country office in Chile, all under the leadership of Chris Weeks, DHL's Director of Humanitarian Affairs. At Santiago de Chile Airport the DRT organized the packaging of relief goods and is now mainly focusing its efforts on Concepcíon, the city at the center of the earthquake. As of today, the DRT will pack first aid bags with urgent supplies like food, water and hygienic items in Concepcíon, supporting local authorities.

Frank Appel, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post DHL - the parent company of DHL - commented on the situation: "As a company that operates everywhere around the world, we are very committed to bring in our logistics expertise in Chile to help coordinate relief efforts."

In order to reach remote fishing villages with the urgently needed relief goods, one team of the DRT members packed 4,000 special plastic bags over the weekend, containing food, water and other aid material for the Chilean government organization ONEMI at Santiago airport. The special DHL bags are water proof and generally filled with 25 kg of supplies including food and water. They are robust and can be thrown from helicopters or airplanes into areas hard to reach on land or water way.

DHL expects to continue the aid trips

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The DRT can be deployed to a crisis area within 72 hours and for a period of up to three weeks.

At the same time a team of volunteers drove 40 trucks filled with goods from the capital Santiago to the city of Concepcíon this weekend. The trucks moved approximately 25 tons of material and household items for the humanitarian aid organization Hogar de Cristo, as part of the Chilean governments call for support. DHL and Hogar de Cristo already cooperated in the past and DHL expects to continue the aid trips for the organization throughout the country.

In 2005, DHL entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in the area of Disaster Management. DHL's global DRT network consists of three teams which are assigned to a specific geographic region covering Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and Africa. Each of these teams consists of a pool of about 80 specially trained DHL employees, who - in addition to their normal job - have volunteered to take part in the pro-bono humanitarian efforts.

The DRT can be deployed to a crisis area within 72 hours and for a period of up to three weeks. By that time, the initial wave of international charter aircraft bringing in aid supplies has normally subsided to a level that is manageable by local authorities. Up to fifteen members of the team are present at any point in time during the deployment.