Deutsche Post DHL (DP DHL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are stepping up their training programme for disaster preparedness training for Indian airports.
The two organisations are expanding Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) programme with officials and experts from the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
This programme will include a new Train the Facilitator 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.
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.
So far, Guwahati and Chennai airports are already GARD-trained.
“Channelling relief efforts from airports to affected communities require efficient operational procedures, and appropriate infrastructure capabilities” said Subhash Kumar, general manager at the AAI.
“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.”
Besides having the necessary airport infrastructure and local transport connections to smoothly deliver lifesaving support to impacted communities, airport teams need 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.
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.