The Logistics Cluster Bolsters Ongoing Humanitarian Response in Fiji with Mobile Storage Units

15 April 2016
The first of four MSUs donated to the Fijian Government is erected at the site of the Central Division Warehouse near Suva. Photo: WFP/Arnel Haboc

The four temporary storage units donated by WFP and set up by the Logistics Cluster, will augment the government’s existing capacity, as well as complement its ongoing cyclone-response efforts.

The first of four MSUs donated to the Fijian Government is erected at the site of the Central Division Warehouse near Suva. Photo: WFP/Arnel Haboc

Construction of one of the four Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) donated by the United Nations World Food Programme – as lead agency of the Logistics Cluster - to the Fijian government, has been completed. The units will boost the National Disaster Management Office’s (NDMO) capacity to store, sort and kit food supplies and relief items, intended for some of Tropical Cyclone Winston’s hardest hit areas in the Eastern and Western Divisions.

The NDMO has been leading the response - with all national government-led clusters activated - since the Category 5-cyclone hit Fiji back in February 2016 killing 44 people and affecting hundreds of thousands. As it swept through Fiji, Cyclone Winston left a trail of destruction severely impacting the country’s existing infrastructure and transport network.

In a bid to address the government’s shortfalls in local storage capacity, recently strained by adverse weather and a surge of Unsolicited Bilateral Donations (UBDs),resulting in delayed distributions, the Logistics Cluster deployed the four MSUs from emergency contingency stocks at the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Subang, Malaysia. UNHRD is a strategic hub established in 2010 to provide storage, logistics support and services to UN and other humanitarian agencies within the Asia-Pacific region.

Fiji's emergency teams take part in the Logistics Cluster-coordinated MSU construction and maintenance training. Photo: WFP/Arnel Haboc

Procured from contingency stocks at UNHRD in Subang, Malaysia, the MSUs arrive at Nadi International Airport. Photo: WFP/Jurgen Hulst

Each MSU is 24x10x5 meters, or a total of 240 m², with a capacity to store 840 cubic meters of food and Non Food Items (NFIs).

One of the four storage facilities, dispatched to Nadi International Airport on 21 March, has now been erected at the Central Division Warehouse in Nausori, near Suva; a priority location identified by the NDMO for its logistical significance. Incoming food supplies and other relief commodities are already flowing into the temporary storage facility, and more are expected to arrive in the coming days.

The assembly of the storage unit coincided with a Logistics Cluster-coordinated training on MSU construction and maintenance best practice. Manila-based logistician Arnel Haboc was deployed to Suva specifically to provide the one-day training to government’s disaster response and emergency units.

Logistician Arnel Haboc (sitting at the centre) and his teams of trainees, pose for photographs in front the of the newly assembled MSU. Photo: Fiji Emergency Units

“The training went really well,” said Arnel, who in November 2013 was part of a team of logisticians that oversaw the construction of a staggering 27 MSUs near Tacloban City, during Emergency Operation Haiyan. “The teams picked up very quickly the nuts and bolts of how to set up a mobile storage unit, stock it and maintain it properly. They now have the capacity and skills to erect the remaining three facilities on their own.”

The Logistics Cluster is currently working in close collaboration with relevant government ministries and the NDMO, offering coordination and information management support to maximize the Cyclone Winston humanitarian response. For further information on the Fiji TC Winston Logistics Cluster activities, please visit: http://www.logcluster.org/ops/fiji16