Whether it is a tsunami in Japan or South East Asia, a typhoon in the Philippines, a cyclone Myanmar, flooding in Bosnia and Herzegovina an earthquake in Nepal, New Zealand, Chile or Haiti, or a hurricane in the Caribbean, natural disasters have devastating effects on people, homes, businesses, infrastructures and economies.

Hurricane Matthew, Oct. 2016, Jeremie, Haiti

Many Posts across the world play a key role before and after natural disasters. Emergency preparedness for disaster-risk reduction has been crucial. Posts should be part of any country’s first responder plan.

Before

  • Disseminate government information on emergency preparedness or evacuation, both before and after any disaster
  • Post offices could also be used a food banks and water distribution points

After

  • If equipped with generators, the post office could provide free cell phone charging and emergency satellite phone to connect with Emergency Responders.
  • Given their extensive network, Posts can transport disaster-relief packages.
  • Disseminate government information, both before and after any disaster.
  • Post offices and mail processing centres can act as distribution points for food, medical aid and other emergency supplies.
  • Post offices could also be used a food banks and water distribution points.
  • Few people like postal employees know so well the community they serve. Postal services can identify and direct emergency responders to the most vulnerable in the community, help find family members, direct people to safe locations and help coordinate emergency aid operations. After Hurricane Maria in October 2017, Mail carriers gathered information on the sick and elderly residents in far-flung parts of Puerto Rico where hospitals were closed. Data was fed into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief office in San Juan so medical attention could be provided.
  • Posts can provide much needed money transfers to victims or work with money-transfer organizations in affected areas as well as a basic means of communication.
  • Issue, free of charge, replacement identity documents.

Increasing Posts’ resilience can further contribute to better managing risks when natural disasters strike and to communities’ own resilience.

The UPU is committed to supporting the United Nations’ actions in disaster-risk reduction. For more information visit the UPU webpage on disaster risk management

http://www.upu.int/en/activities/disaster-risk-management-in-the-postal-sector/about-disaster-risk-management-in-the-postal-sector.html

UPU Disaster Risk Management Poster

 

UPU Hurricane Emergency Checklist

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