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Optimizing UNHRD’s Rapid Response

Thu, 2015-12-10 14:26 /

495e42d1c491432c20bc52f18992b875.jpgIndonesia after the boxing-day tsunami in 2004. Haiti after the 7.0 earthquake in 2010. Western Africa during the Ebola outbreak in 2014. These are just some of the environments   UNHRD Rapid Response Teams (RRT) work in when they are deployed to help during an emergency.

To ensure that human resources and technical services are up to the task when an emergency strikes, UNHRD has been formalizing its rapid response mechanisms. In line with this, a new Rapid Response Team (RRT) training was held at the UNHRD Brindisi hub in November. Logistics officers, field-base coordinators, warehouse technicians and other members from UNHRD, WFP and standby partners (Ericsson Response, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), RedR Australia, Irish Aid and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) completed a week of intensive training aimed at optimizing RRT skills and emergency response management.

The training took a practical approach and put the participants through exercises that closely resembled real-life situations. The groups were taken to remote locations and asked to survey the area, design basecamp layouts, organize transport routes, and in some cases actually assemble the pre-fabricated units. These skills are essential for those first on the ground in an emergency as the speed and quality of the setup directly affects how quickly life-saving goods and services can reach those in need. These exercises were supported and reinforced through theoretical sessions on topics such as the cluster approach, and through visits to functional facilities, such as the UNHRD Lab.

img_3544.jpgParticipant, Cristina Cacciarino, said she valued the holistic approach of the training, and enjoyed having to apply the theories and processes they learnt in practical exercises. These activities included learning to put up mobile storage units, working with generators and water systems, and developing a set-up plan for a transit camp.

The event was generously supported by the UPS Foundation, who are a natural partner for UNHRD with their shared expertise in large scale logistics operations. Upon visiting the Brindisi base during the RRT training, UPS Humanitarian Supply Chain Director, Esther Ndichu said the foundation strongly believes in and is proud of investing in people and infrastructure, and recognizes the great value RRTs bring to the field.