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SARAJEVO, September 25, 2018. Deutsche Post DHL Group and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have teamed up with Sarajevo International Airport and Bosnia and Herzegovina government officials to conduct a ‘Getting Airports Ready for Disaster’ (GARD) programme.

The four-day workshop evaluates the current level of airport preparedness, conducts training exercises and produces an action plan to ensure future resiliance.

UNDP DHL GARD In 2014, the country experienced the worst flooding in 120 years that affected one million people, destroyed infrastructure, businesses, livelihoods, farms and crops. Recognising the effects of climate change will continue to make the country vulnerable to floods, landslides, earthquakes, heat waves, droughts and fires, the government expects Sarajevo airport to play a key role in handling relief supplies for such events.

“In addition to reassessing airport facilities and strengthening staff expertise, the workshop will lead to a series of follow-up activities including an action plan that we can use to build up our readiness for any potential emergencies,” commented airport director Armin Kajmaković.

“During times of emergency and disaster it is essential to have a trained team and a customized surge response plan in place. All team members should know how to handle the dramatic rise in air traffic and the flow of goods and people that typically follows a disaster,” explained Chris Weeks, director of Humanitarian Affairs for Deutsche Post DHL Group.

“Sarajevo International Airport is a strategically important airport in case of a natural disaster. In the region, Armenian and Kazakh airport authorities are already GARD-trained and therefore well prepared for a surge in air traffic,” he added.

The GARD programme was developed by Deutsche Post DHL and the UNDP in 2009 to prepare airports in disaster-prone areas to handle the surge of incoming relief goods. Since then, the two organisations have conducted 43 free workshops in Armenia, Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, the Maldives, Nepal, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Costs are paid by UNDP and the German government.

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