UN appeals for US$877 million for Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh

Countries: Bangladesh, Myanmar
Sources: International Organization for Migration, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

The appeal aims to respond to the needs of approximately 855,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and more than 444,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in the communities generously hosting them.

ATCO Frontec joins as new corporate partner

HLA is pleased to announce that ATCO Frontec has joined as a new corporate partner.

ATCO Frontec specializes in operational logistic support services, remote site turn-key accommodation and disaster response solutions. With a global reach, it operates across the disaster and emergency management spectrum, from mitigation and preparedness, to response and recovery, supporting the principle “Build Back Better”. Its highly trained teams provide project management expertise, procurement services and logistics, to rapidly deploy mission-critical services, incident facilities and structures.

ATCO Frontec is a valued partner in emergency response around the world. From the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan to Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria in 2017, it has supported municipalities, provincial and federal governments, as well as NATO’s global operations.

To read more about ATCO's work in disaster response, visit their excellent website, which has a number of case studies, or contact David Lampshire.

Credit: Christian Backmund Fotografie

HLA highlights need for multi-sector collaboration at humanitarian logistics conference

HLA was represented by Chief Executive George Fenton, who emphasized improved multi-sector collaboration to maximize efficiency

On 21st May, HLA had a strong presence at the much-needed sector-specific workshop on Humanitarian Aviation, which took place in Leipzig, Germany. The meeting, held on the sidelines of the 2019 International Transport Forum, was jointly organized by Leipzig/Halle Airport, Volga-Dnepr Group and the Akkon University of Human Sciences. It enabled the stakeholders present to explore specifically how air transport can aid humanitarian efforts, using Germany as a reference point. As such, it brought together actors from the (German) NGO sector, commercial air transport industry, academia, and the donor community.

The conference was organized into workshops and practical demonstrations, and themes covered in the various sessions included humanitarian access, airport preparedness, and Emergency Medical Team (EMT) logistics. HLA was represented by the Chief Executive George Fenton, who facilitated a discussion group that explored the ways in which the NGO sector can get up to speed and be better prepared to respond collaboratively (with other stakeholders) during emergencies. They also identified the challenges that must be overcome in order to improve the implementation of EMTs including bureaucracy and cost, as well as how to better mobilize local aviation capacity. 

Mr. Fenton also moderated a panel discussion, where the issue of the clear gap that exists when it comes to strategic coordination of (air) humanitarian logistics was identified. There was an agreement from the group that more work is needed in this area, and as such agreed, in principle, to hold ongoing discussions in this regard.

“Aircraft are important in certain local contexts, as we saw during the Cyclone Idai response in Mozambique. However, there is not enough coordination to ensure that they work efficiently. More connectedness will certainly lead to more cost effectiveness, and that is what we explored in this workshop”. – George Fenton

As German humanitarian NGOs have a particular interest and see great value in deploying the WHO-certified EMTs, there were some practical demonstrations of what this entails. EMT logistics is seen as very specific German development due to the concentration on medical activities inside Germany, and hence have comparative expertise in this area. The Volga-Dnepr Group, who is leading the charge for the need to do things differently to improve efficiency, also gave a demonstration of some of the unique capabilities of two of the aircraft in their extensive fleet.

“One of the initiatives we’re advancing is for consolidated cargo, which means NGOs share space on bigger aircraft, giving them service and space at a cheaper price, ensuring that they are able to reach more people much more quickly during emergencies. As a first step, we are launching a survey to understand the needs of the NGO community. The findings will help make a strong business case to take this forward.”

Stuart Smith, Director Global Humanitarian, Volga-Dnepr Group

Action Help Germany– a coalition of 10 major GermanNGOs including World Vision, Welthungerhilfe, Action Medeor, DRK – also gave an insight into how they have cooperated with each other including sharing details on lift capacity projects, and some past joint funding for charter flights. It was a useful case study into the German context, even as the workshop participants sought ways by which they could develop useful examples that work, and which can be replicated in other contexts. As such, the discussions also explored the response to recent cyclone Idai in Mozambique, and what lessons that presents for more efficient use of air cargo transport during such emergencies.

Key conclusions and way forward

  • The need for cross-sector collaboration from donors, public, private, and the NGO sectors was a recurring theme from the workshop discussions, with recognition from both the German government and the NGO community that there is a place for improved efficiency in coordinating and sharing transport assets in disaster response. This was identified to be vital in order to prevent wastage and duplication, and make efforts more aligned. Overall, buy-in fromEU member states is vital for effective air logistics coordination.
  • Germany – as a donor country – has an approach to the funding and organization of air cargo that differs from other EU nations, and which presents both opportunities and challenges. As the German government view towards the role of donated air cargo is to be neutral (not seen as involving in other nations affairs), its aid interventions are less bilateral in this regard, and this can present some challenges with coordination and efficiency.
  • There is still a lot of learning and improvement that can be done to enhance the impact of the EMTs. For example, while there is standardisation on the purpose and objectives of the EMTs, the cargo components themselves are less standardized with different suppliers in place. One solution advanced is for a possible increased role of the specialist Robert Koch Institute to interface between the German EMTs, government, and the WHO, in this regard.
  • There is interest and space for the private sector to introduce some sector-specific initiatives in the field of cargo transportation. This include in the area of special considerations regarding contracting and frame partnerships; the development of a technological platform for aircraft space share and consolidation; and special conditions and services that airports may create and offer for humanitarian value-add. A good exampleof private sector engagement cited was the UNOCHA established ‘connecting business initiative’ (CBI) groupin the Philippines, which is a valuable sector cluster approach for private sector partners.
  • There is a need for a stronger and improved donor-led engagement with the transport outputs of NGOs and agencies. This is in terms of the coordination of assets – who flies where and with what –, and possibly an intermediary role for a coordinator between the donor and the various actors.


Photo credit: Christian Backmund Fotografie

Mozambique update from HLA members

We have been coordinating responses from various HLA members on the current emergency situation in Mozambique following Cyclin Idai.

Club of Mozambique - emergency update

Club of Mozambique, the online gateway to Mozambique, reported that on 18 March the first international airlift arrived in Beira, Mozambique from UNHRD in Dubai. WFP are handling the distribution of supplies. For more information, read here.

Aero Africa - capacity

Reporting on 21 March, Jamie AndersonDirector -  African Solutions, said: "Remarkably I have not seen any humanitarian aid requests freely on the market for air cargo into Mozambique as of yet. It appears that the international call to help has yet to gather pace. I spoke to a few forwarders who handle NGO’s yesterday and they said the same. There are relief convoys en route ex South Africa. Day by day the world is starting to see the big picture therefore I expect a lot more activity in the coming days."

In terms of carrier availability, he added: "We would welcome any enquiries as we are very in touch with aircraft availability along the entire eastern coastline of Africa. Astral Aviation has the 727F based in NBO. There are also ample AN26F and also a C310 in MGQ that could also be called into play, as the operators do have spare hours".

Volga-Dnepr - capacity

Reporting on 21 March, Stuart Smith, Director Global Humanitarian, said of Volga-Dnepr's capacity: "1 x VDA IL76 is now ready in Maputo and will operate flights in coming days for BEW/Beira International Airport. We may consider ops also to Chimoio/VPY inside Mozambique. We may also look to offer B737F of Atran Cargo (Volga-Dnepr Group) ex EU and UAE origins, in case of smaller loads requirement. BEW, as we understand it, is not able to download larger freighters due lack of MDL but smaller freighters (forklift/low loader etc) as yes OR ramp".

Sheltereach.org - shelter

John Vasila of Sheltereach said: “Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Minangagwa, of town Chmanimani Government wants to ensure that houses are built back with stronger materials. Sheltereach designs can be summed up with the word Simple. Simple for the end users, simple in terms of logistics and simple in procurement.

This leads to safe, affordable housing with access to services. We can also help local people to understand the building principles and materials used in our shelter/housing systems. We can partner with Government and NGOs to ensure appropriate disaster relief and reconstruction methods are used, increasing the strength by up to 30 times of  the original structure, usually without increasing the minimal budget cost".

See attached for typical shelter options and a diagram of a Disaster Cycle, in terms of shelter.