It would be easy to be daunted by the scale of the supply chain challenge presented by the flooding in Pakistan.
Weeks of monsoon rains have affected more than 17 million people and destroyed almost one and a quarter million homes. Parts of the country have been likened to an inland sea and it has been described by the United Nations as the “greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history”.
The British Red Cross has sent a team of four logistics specialists to help co-ordinate the arrival of aid so it can be delivered to those most in need. It will be working to speed up the delivery of aid into the worst-hit areas.
Thomas Riess, the logistics co-ordinator in Pakistan for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said last week that some 500 tonnes of emergency shelter and household items had been airlifted to the ICRC’s Peshawar logistics base but flooding of major routes south from Peshawar meant it had to open a second aid pipeline through the southern port city of Karachi.
Logistics organisations are also stepping up and offering their expertise. DHL has sent a team of four logistics experts from its disaster response team to set up a provisional warehouse and help with the logistical handling of relief goods at the military part of Islamabad airport. The team is working with the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Programme.
And Aramex, the Dubai-based logistics provider, has launched “Support Pakistan”, a disaster relief campaign in the UAE. In partnership with Emirates National Oil Company and Volunteers in Dubai, Aramex will collect donations and extend logistics support to deliver aid.
Clearly, the overwhelming need at the moment is emergency relief for the millions directly affected by the flooding – food, clean water, medicines and shelter.
And the scale of the disaster means that support is going to be needed for months to come. In the longer term there will be a huge challenge in rebuilding. That is going to take more support from supply chain and logistics professionals.
If you would like to support the relief effort in Pakistan you can make a donation at the ICRC’s web site: www.icrc.org