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            september 20, 2019

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Five-day training


India is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to natural disasters –  prone to floods and landslides during the monsoon season, and  a  high  incidence  of  cyclones  and  earthquakes.  With  climate  change,  the  number  and intensity  of these  disasters  are  only  expected  to grow,  which  means the government faces incrementally greater challenges in delivering aid and other humanitarian services when tragedy strikes. Making sure infrastructure is disaster - ready is key to saving lives, and airports are a major part of that.
At  Calicut  International Airport  in  Kozhikode  city,  Kerala,  14  airport  operations  experts from across India have gathered for a five-day training from 6 - 10 August 2018 to learn how to make their airports disaster-ready, and to become national trainers for GARD workshops in India.
Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are expanding their internationally recognized Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) program with officials and experts from the Airports Authority of India (AAI). This workshop will include a new Train the Facilitator (TtF) element for countries that are at above average risk for natural disasters. This not only supports airport authorities in their efforts to build resilience against future natural disasters, but also enables participants to train others at the national level.
“Channeling  relief  efforts  from  airports  to  affected  communities  require  efficient  operational procedures, and appropriate infrastructure capabilities” said Subhash Kumar, General Manager at the Airports Authority of India. “In addition to reassessing airport facilities and strengthening staff  expertise,  this  workshop  will  allow  us  to  build  up  our  readiness  for  any  potential emergencies across the country and regionally.”
At  the  workshop,  facilitators - in -training  will  learn  how  to  evaluate  the  current  level  of preparedness at airports, conduct training exercises, and develop specific recommendations and ready an action plan to ensure that airports are prepared for future disasters. Thereafter, all attendees will be able to conduct GARD workshops at the national level themselves.
“The new initiative allows airports to conduct the GARD training when it suits the regional needs best –  that makes the roll out much more flexible,” explains Chris Weeks, DPDHL Director for Humanitarian Affairs. “Furthermore, the Train the Facilitator workshop allows us to share our knowledge  that  we  have  gathered  in  more  than  nine  years’  of  experience  with  others  and thereby  scale  up  the  number  of  GARD  trained  airports  to  make  the  program  even  more effective.”
To ensure fast and effective assistance in the immediate aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, besides having the necessary airport infrastructure and local transport connections to smoothly deliver lifesaving support to impacted communities, the team on site needs to be trained in the necessary protocols and know-how to handle the dramatic rise in air traffic and flow of goods and people that typically follows a disaster.
“With  increased  vulnerability  due  to  climate  change,  it  is  essential  to  strengthen  national capacities and resilience to natural disaster. These include training local authorities in special customs and immigration policies that need to be activated in the event of emergency, and having passenger evacuation plans or accommodation at the airport for the first 72 hours,” said Preeti Soni, Assistant Country Director, UNDP. “The introduction of TtF GARD workshop will ensure that rescue and relief efforts can be carried out smoothly while reducing losses from
natural disasters.”
So far, Guwahati and Chennai airports are already GARD-trained and thus prepared to handle emergencies better.

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