DHL, Qatar overcome logistics challenges in Nepal

DHL Disaster Response_Nepal

A graphic supplied by DHL, describing its 27-day disaster response efforts in Nepal.

After battling inhospitable conditions caused by the devastating April 25 earthquake and its many aftershocks in Nepal, air carriers bringing in humanitarian aid are beginning to make significant progress in spite of the crippled infrastructure throughout the mountainous Himalayan country.

Deutsche Post DHL, working together with Air Charter Service (ACS), said last week that it has wrapped up the month-long deployment of its disaster relief team, which delivered more than 50 charter flights full of relief supplies and personnel to Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu. According to a graphic supplied by DHL (seen at right), the 27-day effort included 33 volunteer workers, bringing more than 2,000 tonnes of goods to the land-locked country, which depended heavily on air support as most of the roads became impassable from the disaster.

DHL’s disaster response team worked with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.N. World Food Program, along with various governments, aid agencies, and NGOs, to provide logistics operations on the tarmac of KTM, which was initially clogged with relief supplies that had trouble being distributed.

Justin Lancaster, the commercial director of ACS, said that relief flights had been taking “up to four days to be processed” due to the congestion. “The logistical challenges trying to help victims of the Nepalese earthquake were some of the most difficult that we have ever had to overcome,” he said.

Within 24 hours after the first quake rumbled, Qatar Airways Cargo was the first commercial carrier to land at KTM after the earthquake. Since then, it has sent 12 humanitarian aid freighter flights from Doha, carrying approximately 400 tonnes of medicines, food supplies, tents, water filters and generators provided by charities, including Qatar’s charity, RAF.

Qatar Airways Cargo also flew in volunteers who worked in conjunction with various NGOs to provide free transportation of food and water filters to other areas around Nepal that had lost access to clean drinking water after the quake.

The region has been reeling since the 7.8-magnitude temblor, now known as the Gorkha earthquake, hit the country on April 25, followed by a major 7.3-magnitude aftershock on May 12. The combined quakes killed more than 8,800 people, injured 23,000 and displaced about half a million people.

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