09 May 2008
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT) says there will be a desperate need for logistics professionals, both in Burma and here in the UK, to help with the humanitarian relief effort. There has been immense damage to the logistics infrastructure in Burma with many roads, bridges and harbours destroyed.
CILT is working with its Humanitarian and Emergency Logistics Professionals (HELP) Forum members and the charity RedR to find experienced professional humanitarian logisticians to aid the stricken country.
HELP's Chairman, Bernard Auton FCILT, is asking professionals with relevant humanitarian logistics experience who can help, to contact RedR.
RedR rebuilds people's lives in times of disaster by providing aid workers in the field with the skills they need to make a difference, and a Technical Support Service to help solve problems that aid workers have in the field
Bernard says RedR needs updated CVs from its members. The first wave of demand will be in the Logistics, Watsan (Water and Sanitation) and Shelter competencies.
To send an updated CV please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effective Logistics is key to Effective Response
Mike Whiting, who was the head of office for United Nations Joint Logistics Centre in Banda Aceh after the Tsunami in 2005, is one of many experienced humanitarian logisticians working in HELP.
"Effective humanitarian logistics is key to the fast, efficient delivery of relief and assistance in response to disasters like those in Burma and crucial to the best use of donors' funds. We are working hard in HELP to make sure the lessons learned after the Tsunami, and other disasters, are shared so we are more effective now, and next time a disaster occurs."
Humanitarian organisations are the primary vehicle through which governments channel aid targeted at alleviating suffering caused by natural and man-made disasters. The focus of their work is currently on direct relief, rather than investment in systems and processes that reduce expenses or make relief more effective over the long-term. The humanitarian sector cannot prioritise investment in their logistics capacity and supply chains, which would help reduce costs and improve delivery of assistance, when donors only want their funds focussed on implementing programs. This often means that logistics and other support services do not have adequate funding for strategic preparedness
Logistics support also struggles with short-term contracted workforces, high employee turnover rates, fragmented technology, and poorly defined processes. The intensively difficult environment in which the emergency assistance is usually delivered only compounds these factors. The major issue then becomes the lack of institutional learning over time – in turn this can delay or reduce the quality and quantity of relief provided.
The HELP Forum is working with other organisations such as the Fritz Institute and Humanitarian Logistics Association to promote the importance of effective logistics and provide opportunities for individuals to learn from the experience of others. A number of professionals currently pursuing the Certification in Humanitarian Logistics, developed by these organisations, are expected to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice in Burma.
HELP's research reveals one of the key challenges in relief operations is completing an accurate assessment of requirements that is measurable, consistent and not duplicated by other agencies in the field. HELP have been working on a standardised logistics needs assessment with participants from many relief and emergency agencies.
See website: http://www.humanitarianlogisticsneedsassessment.com/ for more information.
Help in the UK
HELP and the CILT also want to support charities and NGOs involved in relief operations by helping fill the shoes of those humanitarian logisticians who have had to leave their UK jobs to work in Burma. Experienced logisticians with time available are being asked to register with the Institute if they can help UK based logistics operations while experienced humanitarian staff are working in the field.
If your business would like to support this initiative or you would like to volunteer to help in the UK, please contact Bernard Auton, Chairman of HELP on 07887 653117 or send your CV to HELP@ciltuk.org.uk