02 June 2008, 20:55
by Liu Lei
Tents sent by the Netherlands begin to arrive in the Sichuan erathquake zone. (L.Liu/UNV)Volunteers help load trucks bound for the Sichuan earthquake relief effort. (L. Liu/UNV)Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China:
According to the documentation for the 100,000 tents, there is a batch of 1,900 family tents from the Netherlands, co-donated by the Dutch Government and Dutch Red Cross, which will arrive in Chengdu. In order to understand all the details of the logistics procedure, I together with the logistics specialist from Sweden visit Chengdu International Airport to find out how the tent transportation pipeline works using the example of the Dutch goods.
After careful checks together with local logistics in every department of the international cargo station at the airport, we find that there are still some shortcomings in the transportation flow. For example, the consignment receiving note needs to be modified to simplify the flow. Loading and offloading can't be dependent on volunteers in the long term and needs to be at least doubled due to the huge numbers of tents coming in the next 30 to 40 days. Trucking arrangements need to be operated and mobilized better; the customs procedures in particular badly need to be acted on efficiently as well as accurately and the green line for disaster relief cargo in the airport really needs to function properly.
Considering the crucial importance of logistics work for emergency aid, the IFRC logistics specialist holds a meeting with the local team immediately and promotes their capabilities with many professional suggestions. But the logistics monitoring work is still not over and the IFRC team will further cooperate with the local Red Cross to guarantee the logistics services for disaster relief.
In the afternoon, we have a chance to see the biggest cargo plane in the world from the Netherlands, together with Dutch ambassador to China. We have a clear view of the goods being offloaded and transported to warehouses from the plane, which gives us a better understanding of the overall flow. This batch of tents arrives at 17.30 and will be dispatched to the Mianyang disaster area immediately.