Only a few days after an earthquake hit the central Chilean region around the city of Concepcíon, DHL stepped in with its DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) to help the local Chilean authorities to transport relief goods to areas that were particularly hard hit by the earthquake.
The DRT consists out of six core team members and a group of over 140 volunteers of the DHL country office in Chile, all under the leadership of Chris Weeks, DHL's Director of Humanitarian Affairs. At Santiago de Chile Airport the DRT organized the packaging of relief goods and focused its efforts in the first days of the response on Concepcíon, the city at the center of the earthquake.The DRT packed first aid bags with urgent supplies like food, water and hygienic items in Concepcíon, supporting local authorities.
In order to reach remote fishing villages with the urgently needed relief goods, one team of the DRT members packed 4,000 special plastic bags within two days, containing food, water and other aid material for the Chilean government organization ONEMI at Santiago airport. The special DHL bags are water proof and generally filled with 25 kg of supplies including food and water. They are robust and can be thrown from helicopters or airplanes into areas hard to reach on land or water way.
At the same time a team of volunteers drove 40 trucks filled with goods from the capital Santiago to the city of Concepcíon. The trucks moved approximately 25 tons of material and household items for the humanitarian aid organization Hogar de Cristo, as part of the Chilean governments call for support. DHL and Hogar de Cristo already cooperated in the past and DHL expected to continue the aid trips for the organization throughout the country.
In 2005, DHL entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in the area of Disaster Management. DHL's global DRT network consists of three teams which are assigned to a specific geographic region covering Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and Africa. Each of these teams consists of a pool of about 80 specially trained DHL employees, who - in addition to their normal job - have volunteered to take part in the pro-bono humanitarian efforts.
The DRT can be deployed to a crisis area within 72 hours and for a period of up to three weeks. By that time, the initial wave of international charter aircraft bringing in aid supplies has normally subsided to a level that is manageable by local authorities. Up to fifteen members of the team are present at any point in time during the deployment.
In the collective effort to protect migrants caught in countries experiencing conflicts or natural disasters, there is no greater imperative than to save lives and alleviate suffering. Humanitarian assistance should be provided to people affected by a conflict or a natural disaster, including migrants, on the basis of need, without discrimination, and regardless of immigration status, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, or other differentiating characteristics.
Some migrants, just as with affected citizens, may need assistance to address their particular needs and circumstances. Domestic workers and others working in isolated conditions, migrants in an irregular immigration status, and migrants in detention may require specific assistance from States, international organizations, and civil society. Some migrants may be unwilling to leave host States due to incapacitating financial burdens; they may owe money to recruiters or employers. Others may lack access to the necessary financial resources to leave, because their wages are withheld, their employers are unable or unwilling to pay for their return, or they work in exploitative situations. Pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly may face mobility challenges.
Migrants’ needs will not remain static during the shifting dynamics of a crisis. Organized criminal networks may take advantage of marginalized migrants in a crisis, exacerbating their vulnerability. A change in circumstances in a migrant’s State of origin may compel some people to seek asylum rather than return. Stakeholders should ensure access to asylum procedures in the host State or States of transit. States may consider providing migrants temporary and other forms of humanitarian protection during or in response to a conflict or natural disaster.
Displacement tracking mechanisms to identify migrant movements and needs.
Tailored assistance to migrants that take into account needs that may arise from gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, or other characteristics.
Assessment tools to determine migrant-specific vulnerability and needs, including specialized screening for indicators of human trafficking.
Targeted action to protect migrant children, including unaccompanied and separated children, and children with parents in an irregular immigration status.
Services to trace and reunify family members and identify remains and missing migrants.
Mobile response teams to reach and provide assistance to affected migrants.
Separation of immigration enforcement from access to humanitarian services to promote access to life-saving assistance especially for migrants who fear authorities.
Mechanisms to recover outstanding wages.