An inter-agency fleet in Haiti: Handicap International/Atlas Logistique

29 January 2010

A fleet of trucks managed by Handicap International / Atlas Logistique has delivered 750 mt of humanitarian cargo to earthquake-affected areas for over 30 NGOs and UN agencies. Working together with the Logistics Cluster in Port-au-Prince, the HI/Atlas team is at the centre of the emergency response. Elena Rovaris (Haiti Logistics Cluster) describes their work.

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The office of the Logistics Cluster in Port-au-Prince is located right in the middle of the garden at the MINUSTAH Log Base where humanitarian workers set up camp the day after the earthquake.

It is at the Logistics Cluster help desk where Christophe Morard is constantly receiving and checking requests from the many different organisations asking for help to deliver relief items to those in need.

The Logistic Cluster in Haiti is coordinating the transportation of humanitarian aid through the inter-agency  fleet operated by Handicap International/Atlas Logistique.  The HI/AL team is supporting the cluster with 23 trucks operating out of Port-au-Prince, 10 out of Jacmel and 3 out of Petit Goave and by managing an interagency warehouse in Port-au-Prince. 

Atlas Logistique, a French NGO specialising in logistics and technical support, and Handicap International have worked together for a long time on emergency humanitarian and reconstruction programs.

As the two NGOs have complementary skills, resources and geographical coverage, Atlas Logistique and Handicap International decided to formalise their collaboration in 2005 by pooling their skills and resources. This merger has resulted in the creation of a new a Emergency Relief Department within Handicap International in 2006.

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At the moment HI/AL have a team of 7 people dedicated to the Logistics Cluster. Four of them were in Haiti when the earthquake struck. Benoit, the project manager  tells me that he was in  the office when the earthquake hit and suddenly saw the shelves in front of him falling. He had to wait for the tremor to stop before getting out. 

All HI/AL staff, international and national, and their families were luckily safe. Most of them were on their way home at the time of the earthquake and therefore not in buildings. 

The HI/AL office didn't collapse, but their house did. Like everybody else a tent is now their home. Helicopters and cargo planes flying overhead with more relief supplies are the soundtrack to their work.

Elena Rovaris, Haiti Logistics Cluster

Photographs: Haiti Logistics Cluster