Responding globally, meeting needs locally
NRS International’s rapid response to the Rohingya refugee and Caribbean crises
“Emergency relief is the nature of our business and requires a holistic and sustainable approach.”
In the early fall of 2017, almost 600,000 Rohingya refugees have poured into Bangladesh, dubbed by the UN Refugee Agency as the ‘fastest-growing refugee emergency in the world.’ As global appeals for relief and donation continued to roll in, the humanitarian community was faced with another unprecedented disaster when the Caribbean islands were hit by Hurricane Irma and Maria, two of the most destructive storms in recent years.
Activating our award-winning ‘Rapid Response Strategy’ approach
As a leading supplier of emergency relief items to global aid agencies and NGOs, we aim to effectively assist affected populations through our ‘Rapid Response Strategy’ (RRS) approach – an integrated and immediate response approach that respects local needs and communities. This holistic approach has earned us recognition at the UPS International Disaster Relief Award for our integrated Nepal earthquake response in 2015. The award recognizes businesses that make a unique contribution to addressing international disasters and help communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
Field assessment in Kutopalong camp in Bangladesh
Working hand in hand with local aid agencies and distributors in the field, we were one of the first relief suppliers to visit Kutopalong camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Our aim was to understand the challenges faced by the field teams and to assess the existing needs of the beneficiaries.
“Evaluating the situation on the ground allows us to better understand how to efficiently respond to the crisis, at the same time enable the humanitarian organizations to efficiently distribute vital aid to the affected communities. As technical experts, we strive to find the best logistic solutions to facilitate the supply chain of emergency relief items,” according to Martina Aureli, Sales & Business Development Manager – Asia & Oceania, at NRS International.
Despite logistical challenges, we managed to get these much-needed relief items directly to Myanmar and Bangladesh using air and sea transportation:
- more than 100,000 thermal blankets
- more than 200,000 sleeping mats
- 60,000 tarpaulins
- 36,000 water containers
- 21,000 long-lasting insecticidal nets
- 4 mobile storage units.
Caribbean crisis: Collaborating with local NGOs on the ground
In the space of just a few short days in September, many islands of the Caribbean were gravely hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the British Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico, the storms wiped out much of the infrastructure, electricity, and communications lines and barely left a house standing.
In response to the needs identified by our local partners on the ground, our Latin America team traveled to Puerto Rico to assess the current situation and to collaborate with various organizations that are committed to relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts on the hurricane-hit islands.
So far, we have provided additional supplies of tarpaulins and jerry cans for replenishment in our client’s Panama warehouse. We continue to work 24/7 and we are actively responding to various requests for family tents, tarpaulins and blankets, which are direly needed by the 3.4 million Puerto Rican citizens living in the face of this unimaginable destruction.
Building resilience and raising public awareness
As a private company working with the non-profit sector, we take our role in the humanitarian supply chain seriously. More than just providing emergency relief items, our secondary goal is to help build community resiliency and to raise awareness for people to take action. We also share our experiences with the academic community, particularly on how we support international response teams, thereby enriching their research and helping them convey the message to the world.