Philippines: Strengthening partners' emergency logistics capacity

MIeroianni | 11 September 2015 | 0 comments

Containers arriving for installation at implementing partner premises


Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on 8 November, 2013 caused more than 6000 deaths and widespread devastation. In the aftermath, UNICEF provided over $50 million of WASH, education, child protection, health and nutrition programme supplies to support the emergency response.

A zonal office was established in Tacloban City to support humanitarian emergency response including management of the supply and logistics operations warehouse with a storage capacity of 1000 m2.  At the end of June 2015, the warehouse and logistics functions were closed down. Before this could happen, UNICEF worked to strengthen logistics capacity of implementing partners to ensure uninterrupted services within the disaster-prone region.

In readiness, UNICEF completed a logistics capacity assessment of four implementing partners: the Departments of Education, Health and Social Welfare and Development and Samaritans Purse, to determine the available storage facilities and the availability of staff to perform and manage logistics transactions.

The assessment revealed that only Samaritan Purse had the infrastructure and staff required to take over UNICEF’s logistics role in the Tacloban area.  

Supply and Logistic Specialist in Manila, Tom Ziraguma, and head of the field office, Maulid Warfa, visited each of the Department Directors to discuss plans on how to strengthen their logistics capacities, including delivery of shipping containers to serve as temporary warehouses.

“Each Director welcomed the idea and committed to provide space for the containers and staff to manage stock,” Tom said.

“At the same time, UNICEF committed to procuring the shipping and installing the containers to act and train implementing partners staff in basic inventory management.”

Each partner was provided with two 40 foot containers, each with an estimated capacity of 67 m3, allowing each Government Department to stockpile over 60 metric tonnes of emergency supplies. The containers were installed on concrete slabs, secured with padlocks and made leak proof to keep good dry during the rainy season. In time of strong winds, the containers are designed to be anchored to the ground with ropes or chains.

One of the containers provided to the Department of Health was customised with temperature control features (thermal insulation and air conditioning) to allow for the safe storage of heat sensitive supplies such as RUTF, F100, F75 and other essential medicines.

As promised, UNICEF Supply and Logistics ran training in June for implementing partners’ staff, equipping them with the required inventory management skills. The training covered core warehousing functions such as selection and set-up of a suitable warehouse facility, warehouse layout/mapping, receiving supplies, inspection, document processing (recording, stacking, issuing, loading, transportation).

This training was attended by 57 Government counterparts from regional and local levels and staff from Samaritan’s Purse. The training included a tour of UNICEF’s Tacloban storage facility to show participants a well-managed warehouse.

With emergency contingency stocks now handed over to partners in their related programmatic areas, they are positioned to respond quickly to any future emergency with essential commodities.

“There has been overwhelming appreciation expressed by partners to the support UNICEF has provided, and they have asked for additional training in inventory management,” Tom added.

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