Though Indian airports have not reported any major disaster till date, unfortunate events can’t be just wished away.
As part of efforts to make Indian airports disaster-ready and become national trainers, 14 airport expert operations from across the country have gathered in the city to learn and also share what they have learnt.
The five-day programme is being organised by Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The two are expanding their internationally recognized ‘Get Airports Ready for Disaster’ (GARD) program with officials and experts from Airports Authority of India (AAI).
“Channelling relief efforts from airports to the affected communities requires efficient operational procedures and appropriate infrastructure capabilities,” said Subhash Kumar, General Manager AAI.
“In addition to reassessing airport facilities and strengthening staff expertise, this workshop will allow us to build our readiness for any potential emergencies across the country and regionally,” said Kumar.
He said the programme will include a new Train the Facilitator (TtF) element for countries that are at above-average risk for natural disasters.
Chris Weeks, DPDHL Director for Humanitarian Affairs, said the new initiative allows airports to conduct the GARD training when it suits the regional needs best and makes the roll-out much more flexible.
“Furthermore, the Train the Facilitator workshop allows us to share our knowledge that we have gathered in more than nine years with others and thereby scale up the number of GARD trained airports to make the program even more effective,” said Weeks.
The entire exercise is 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.
Preeti Soni, UNDP’s Assistant Country Director, said with increased vulnerability due to climate change, it is essential to strengthen national capacities and resilience to natural disaster.
” It includes 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 Soni.>