UNJLC Pakistan Earthquake
BULLETIN No. 9 (Day 20)
As of 1800 hours local, Friday October 28th, 2005
UNJLC Bulletins aim to provide a clear and concise regular overview of the situation as it exists in the earthquake-affected area of Pakistan and contiguous areas with regards to logistics matters affecting relief work by the humanitarian community. They focus on practical issues that affect the welfare of the afflicted populace and related humanitarian work such as the status of transport routes for humanitarian supplies and personnel into the area, relevant administrative or commercial developments, air (including strategic airlift and helicopter operations), Customs and immigration matters, and availability of accommodation and fuels. They further seek to identify major issues for the humanitarian community and other interested parties, to provide relevant background and constructive recommendations on current issues, and to alert responsible parties to emerging issues. This bulletin has been produced daily since October 17th but as the emergency enters its third week will be produced on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with effect from October 24th, until further notice.
1. Activation and Deployment
UNJLC Pakistan Earthquake now has three field offices in the affected area, one at Muzaffarabad serving both Muzaffarabad and Balakot; one at Mansehra; and one at Bagh. In all three locations, UNJLC is hosted at WFP facilities and works closely with other UN agencies.
International staff in-country remains at seventeen with a number of national staff. Further national staff are expected shortly. Two Pakistani Liaison Officers- one military and one civilian – are integrated into the team.
2. Eid El-Fitr
Agencies and NGO’s are advised that the upcoming Eid El-Fitr holidays, falling at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, will affect the availability of transportation services and some Government services. See Bulletin 8 of October 26th for further details.
3. Air Cargo to Affected Area: Helicopter
Free helicopter air transport of humanitarian cargo is available through UNJLC and WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to the affected area. UNJLC presently co-ordinates about 20% of total nominal cargo carrying capacity of the available helicopter fleet. By about November 7th, with further heavy lift helicopters coming on line, this percentage may be about 60%. In effect, six of every ten tonnes of capacity available will be co-ordinated through UNJLC with the balance tasked by the Pakistani military, the IFRC, and others.
It has finally been agreed that a Joint Operations Centre will be established to co-ordinate the tasking of all helicopters operating in the area: Pakistani and US military as well as UNHAS and others. The aim is to optimise the use of this vital, scarce and expensive asset.
- A Users’ Group will the established to represent the broader humanitarian community. This group will establish priorities for categories of cargo to be transported. Until this user group is established, the main priority will be shelter material. Otherwise, cargos will be carried on a first-come-first-served.
- UNJLC is the receiving point for all cargo movement requests. UNJLC will prioritise and process the requests and transmit them to UNHAS. The aim is for same-day processing i.e. prioritised requests will be passed by UNJLC to UNHAS on the day of receival;
- Acting upon the prioritised cargo requests, UNHAS will task an aircraft for the cargo, call forward the cargo, and transport it. Generally, cargo space will be available within 48 to 72 hours of the cargo movement request being lodged. As such, it is imperative that parties wishing to ship cargo plan well ahead.
Passengers from consignee agencies may generally accompany larger cargos to assist with co-ordination, offloading, and field distribution. In this case, the passenger request should be attached to the cargo request when it is sent to UNJLC. This enables UNHAS to task airlift for the whole package.
Expansion of the UNHAS fleet, particularly for heavy lift machines, to the strength required, will be dependent on donor funding. To date, this has not been forthcoming, placing the entire airlift operation in jeopardy.
Three Royal Air Force Chinook heavy lift helicopters generously provided to UNHAS and UNJLC through DFID should be operational shortly.
4. NATO Airbridge
The NATO airbridge from Turkey and Europe is now in its second week, averaging just over three flights and almost 36 tonnes per day from Incirlik alone, with UNHCR tents. NATO as an organisation will soon provide practical assistance on the ground with four CH-53 heavy helicopters operational within the coming week.
Additionally, at least eight other flights have operated out of continental Europe, with various cargoes, including a Swedish modular base camp for WFP (now deployed at Muzaffarabad). Tonnage carried on these other flights is not available but with at least one Boeing 747 and one DC-10 used, in addition to Antonov charters, is thought to be no less than 200 tonnes. Total tonnage carried by the airbridge to date is about 600 tonnes.
The UNJLC team at Islamabad International Airport and the adjoining Chaklala Pakistan Air Force Base is co-ordinating tracking and delivery of this incoming cargo. These flights generally arrive overnight when helicopters are not operating from the base. If aircraft arrivals are staggered throughout the night, and if appropriate-sized aircraft are used, Chaklala can handle about double the current flow, except during the peak of the Eid El-Fitr period. Handling capacity is about 54 pallets per night.
5. Airport Congestion: Clearance Ongoing
Reports of congestion at Islamabad International Airport and Chaklala are generally overstated. Although there are significant amounts of uncollected cargo lying around both locations in an apparent state of disorganisation, the Pakistani authorities are clearing goods promptly. Main problems continue to be agencies not turning up at the airport to collect their consignments and trucks gaining access to the area.
As of October 28th, the UNJLC Airport Team has access to all relevant areas of both the Islamabad International Airport and the Chaklala Pakistani Air Force Base. A working tent office has been established at Chaklala. The team is at the disposal of NGO’s to assist in any way it can. Contact details are available on www.unjlc.org/Pakistan.
Humanitarian cargo does not attract Customs duty or Customs clearance fees but handling is provided by commercial handling agents and the Civil Aviation Authorities on a commercial basis.
The Civil Aviation Authority at Islamabad International Airport requires one day’s advance notice of the arrival of relief aircraft with date of planned arrival, aircraft type, shipper, consigner and, one day prior to arrival, a photocopy of the identity card or passport of the consignee’s representative.
6. Logistics Cluster
The Logistics Cluster, chaired by WFP, is functioning effectively with a greater level of participation from agencies and NGO’s. There is also active participation from the representatives of the Pakistan Federal Relief Commission, reflecting the increasing level of co-ordination and co-operation at the highest levels between the Government and the humanitarian community.
The US military, one of the main parties supporting the Pakistani military and Government on a practical basis on the ground, is also closely involved.
Cluster meetings are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8:30am sharp at the WFP Afghanistan Liaison Office, where UNJLC is housed.
Abbottabad will be established as the main supply base, with transit warehousing. Trucks will supply Abbottabad from Islamabad, and from there the forward hubs of Mansehra, Muzaffarabad, Batagram, Bagh and Balakot. Helicopters will be used only to reach inaccessible areas and for rapid movement of humanitarian workers around the region.
An item of great concern is the relatively low level of donor participation. Only one major donor, from a European country, has regularly attended and participated in the cluster. Attendance by a key North American donor has recently improved, and today saw first attendance by major Asian and Australasian donors.
A second item is the lack of visibility of agencies and NGO’s pipelines. This is required in order to effectively plan to logistics (i.e. it is necessary to know who needs to move what tonnages and volumes to where, and when in order to effectively plan for ground and air assets to move). UNJLC will conduct the difficult but vital task of trying to track the flow of non-food items.
Concerns also exist over the availability of trucks to the final delivery points with most truckers interested only in servicing the hubs. Supplies are therefore building up in the hubs and not getting out to the remote areas as quickly as they should.
7. Free Trucking
Both IOM (The International Organisation for Migration) and Atlas Logistique, a French NGO, are offering free trucking services for humanitarian cargos. IOM is running about 25 trucks per day and requires about 12 hours advance notice; Atlas will carry goods to the final delivery points, insofar as this is possible. Contacts for Atlas are available in previous UNJLC bulletins. NGO’s and agencies may contact both IOM and Atlas at the regular Logistics Cluster meetings.