An Important Stage of Disaster Preparedness: Logistics

Ahmet Emin Dağ
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Board Member

Logistics constitute one of the cornerstones of the aid system. Many factors related to the quality of the logistics infrastructure are directly linked to disaster response and the rapid delivery of necessary aid materials to those in need. In humanitarian aid efforts, logistic planning is critically important for saving lives.

In the preparation phase of logistic planning, factors such as the location and capacity of fixed warehouses, aid stockpiles, sources of origins of these stocks, transportation vehicles, their specifications, locations, capacities, and the division of labor among professional or volunteer workers are important.

The success of humanitarian logistics is measured by its ability to be in the right place at the right time with the right resources. Our foundation, with over 25 years of experience in humanitarian aid efforts, has significantly increased its logistic activities as part of its preparations throughout the year, aligned with the priorities on our country’s disaster map. In this context, 2022 has been a period of significant advancements in logistics. The ‘Emre Yerli Disaster Management and Logistics Center,’ spanning a total of 14,000 square meters in Istanbul’s Tuzla district, with 8,000 square meters of enclosed storage space, has become operational. This logistics hub has not only played a crucial role in responding to disasters within our country but has also started to provide advantages in aid efforts to all regions reached by Türkiye’s humanitarian hand.

For example, during the challenging response to the floods in the Western Black Sea region, our foundation, thanks to its robust logistic infrastructure, successfully fulfilled its responsibilities promptly and efficiently. Similarly, in the midst of a severe economic crisis in Afghanistan and Ukraine, where conflict continues, these massive logistics centers offer hope for the delivery of humanitarian aid materials, whether it be the transportation of tons of humanitarian aid materials to Afghanistan by train or the delivery of humanitarian aid supplies to civilians in Ukraine.

Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, our foundation has sent thousands of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid materials, and our strong logistics network and centers played a vital role in the swift organization of these aid materials. There is no doubt that our newly established center will fulfill a significant need in responding to disasters both within the country and in neighboring regions.

One of the most crucial pillars of institutional preparedness for humanitarian aid and disaster response is volunteer mobilization. In this regard, our foundation, which has tens of thousands of volunteers in almost all provinces of Türkiye, has trained and prepared thousands of volunteers throughout the past year, ranging from search and rescue to emergency aid. They have undergone training, participated in drills, and have become more equipped to respond to potential disasters. Currently, more than three thousand volunteers across Türkiye are trained and well-prepared for emergency response, maintaining continuous coordination.

Humanitarian organizations that are sensitive and meticulous about participating in humanitarian efforts around the world may sometimes experience their own difficulties during these interventions. In this sense, 2022 was a year of great sorrow for the IHH family. First, on May 27, 2022, our Disaster Management Officer Emre Yerli, who had gone to Lebanon to provide disaster training, passed away due to a heart attack. His loss was not only a significant loss for the IHH family but also marked an important figure in the field of disaster and emergency response in our country.

Last year, the experiences of the IHH team that went to Togo in West Africa for humanitarian aid also illustrate that humanitarian organizations can face hardships in critical moments. While travelling to a region in this country for humanitarian intervention, the aid team was involved in a traffic accident. Bursa IHH staff member Ercan Aksoy and IHH volunteers Resul Çerezoğlu and Togolese IHH volunteer İbrahim Chabane lost their lives, while other members of the team were injured. Such experiences represent not only a noble and dedicated cause but also a significant humanitarian legacy for those who risk their lives, as well as for families and colleagues left behind.

Humanitarian diplomacy continued in 2022 with various dimensions aimed at protecting human lives. Within this framework, efforts to reunite children and women who had been stranded in war zones with their families and countries continued throughout the year. Humanitarian diplomacy activities were conducted to support these individuals in returning safely to their homelands. Thanks to humanitarian diplomacy efforts carried out to facilitate the return of dozens of Azerbaijani, Iraqi, and various European citizens who were trapped in Syria, these individuals were able to return safely to their countries.

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