LET Provides Surge Capacity in Haiti

02 December 2010

The day after the Government of Haiti confirmed an outbreak of Cholera in the country, in a Department just north of the capital Port-au-Prince, a medical doctor working with WHO/PAHO, present at the first meeting of the Inter-Cluster Coordination Cell at Logbase, spoke out what everyone was thinking: “Let’s not fool ourselves. This will come to Port-au-Prince very quickly”.

LET story photo 1He was right, but it became even worse. The first Cholera cases were reported for Port-au-Prince in the evening of the next day, and within three weeks the disease spread throughout the entire country.

While the minds of Logistics Cluster staff were already set for “closing the shop” by the end of the year – the earthquake response had stabilized and the end of hurricane season was approaching – it became quickly evident that the team would have to gear up its operation again. In response to the Cholera epidemic additional staff were deployed; two Logistics Officers seconded from ACF and CARE were deployed from the Global Logistics Cluster Support Cell /WFP HQ in Italy; and in addition, a Logistician from the LET, based in Paris, came on board.

LET story photo 2The LET stands for Logistics Emergency Teams, a cross-company partnership between TNT, UPS and Agility, created to support the humanitarian sector with emergency response logistics. Rachel Timmerman, who is working with TNT for more than 20 years has experience in various operations, including Indonesia in 2007 and Haiti in 2008, and now has joined the Logistics Cluster in Haiti as Air Cargo Movement Officer, seconded from the LET. She has been deployed to the International airport in Port-au-Prince managing incoming air cargo. There she oversees unloading of Cholera relief commodities, mainly health and WASH items, that’s being airlifted by various organisations, such as the American Red Cross, the Spanish Red Cross, IFRC, UNICEF, WHO/PAHO and the Embassy of Spain. Rachel coordinates with Logistics Officers from respective organisations the onward transportation to warehouses and temporary storage facilities in town; she even meets with Ambassadors and media representatives. In addition, she assists the dedicated Logistics Cluster customs focal point with the facilitation of customs clearance procedures.

LET story photo 3Rachel’s six-weeks secondment with the Logistics Cluster is scheduled to come to an end mid December, but there seems to be a good chance that she will stay with us a bit longer. And as the Deputy Coordinator of the Haiti-Spanish Cooperation mentioned today: “If we have Rachel with us (…) we have no doubt this will be another success to add to the list”. The Logistics Cluster values the support that is being provided by the LET and is looking forward to collaborating