28 September 2010 | Angeline Albert
A CIPS member handling aviation logistics for Pakistan’s flood emergency relief effort is calling on procurement professionals around the world to encourage their firms to donate money as part of corporate social responsibilities.
Speaking from Pakistan, Michael Whiting, air operations co-ordinator for the Joint Aviation Coordination Cell (JACC), told SM there was a need for “procurement professionals to spread the message to their organisations”.
Whiting – who took part in the humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake earlier this year – said 21 million people are directly affected by flooding in Pakistan caused by the monsoon at the end of July.
“The sheer scale of the crisis and its evolution results in a rapidly changing situation on the ground,” said Whiting.
“Access by any means other than helicopter is currently denied to more than 800,000 people. An estimated 60 per cent of Pakistan’s road networks remain limited or unusable for the foreseeable future. The two main supply routes from Karachi to the north are only useable by light trucks.”
At Pakistan’s Chaklala Air Force Base in Islamabad, Whiting coordinates aircraft with the Pakistani military, the Pakistan National Disaster Management Agency and the aid providers.
This currently includes 70 helicopters from the Pakistan army, US army, US marine corps, the UAE and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS).
“There are several crises affecting different parts of the world, the Haiti crisis is still very big and the ongoing ‘non-headline’ crisis in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo all puts a strain on relief staff and supplies. It is important the message goes out. Procurement can play a part in urging organisations to donate and train staff in supply skills to help affected countries,” Whiting said.
The National Disaster Management Authority estimates that the Pakistan floods have damaged 1.8 million homes. “Meeting demand for tents is a major procurement issue,” Whiting added.
“China is the main source of tents and is trying to ramp up supply. There are only a finite number of suppliers of the right type of tents. In the north you need a winterised tent for the cold but not in the south where it is hot and humid.”