Fay came over the Caribbean and Haiti in the weekend and from Monday on she brought a lot of water and wind to Miami. This is an unexpected factor adding to our ER training... Locals believe this is only a baby-storm, however the hotel advises us not to go outside and keep air conditioning on 'very cold' to ensure the rooms are cold when the envisioned power outrage strikes. In the mean time they literally put sandbags in front of the door, to prevent water from coming in. Wind speeds are up to 60 miles an hour, with 8 inches of rain. But what do I care; I'm Dutch, we deal with water all the time and I'm an ERT member...
Back now to the training. Since January TNT, UPS and Agility officially launched the Logistics Emergency Teams. A combined effort of our industry to help the humanitarian community with their relief activities during big scale emergencies. Since TNT does have a lot of experience in this area UPS invited us to join their trainings to share experiences and stories. UPS had already trained their European and Asian staff in two previous trainings and now it was the turn for staff from the Americas, and I was lucky to join them in Miami.
The training consists of several topics like a presentation of WFP and what their role is during emergencies, sessions about personal health and safety, in depth information on humanitarian rights and we talked about the code of conduct for humanitarian workers. Besides that we discussed personal motivations for engaging in relief efforts. From TNT Emilie Jacquemier and Nicolas Romero gave presentations about their own field experiences being an ERT member in operations in Nicaragua and Pakistan. This gave a good view on what life is like when you’re being deployed.
For me personally it was again very useful to learn more about emergency operations. But moreover it was great meeting the UPS people. Learning how one of them came from Cuba to the US twenty years ago, looking for a new future in a new country, a difficult step. Now he finds himself in a prosperous situation with a warm family and a great job, and willing to go out there and help those in need. An inspiring story on how lives can change.
The 3-day training ended with a session on next steps. TNT will share its knowledge with UPS on processes and procedures that we already have in place. Why? Because we think helping during emergencies is a matter of cooperation and not of competition.
By Thursday the weather was great again. Florida, the sunny state! So there it is: my chance to go and discover South Beach….