After the storm: How postal operators assist in a country’s rapid recovery from natural disasters

24.05.2018 - UPU’s Postal Development Report 2018 shows that postal operators display greater resiliency than the wider infrastructure during natural disasters, while contributing to Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

On 27 February 2010 an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile devastating the country and killing over 500 people. The earthquake, one of the largest in modern times, caused billions of dollars in damages and severe disruption to business operations.

Despite this, and the havoc of the tsunami that followed, the Chilean postal operator, CorreosChile was fully-operational within one week of the disaster. CorreosChile also played a pivotal role in the recovery and was able to raise awareness among the public with a campaign called, “I am prepared; Chile is prepared.”

The Chilean disaster is not the only example of the durability of postal operators. During a 2013 Typhoon in the Philippines, in Japan during the appalling 2011 earthquake and tsunami as well as elsewhere, postal operators have consistently proved their ability to adapt to fast moving situations and deadly natural disasters.

Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda seeks to increase the safety of infrastructure and make cities more sustainable. It is closely tied to postal development. Based on the Integrated Index for Postal Development (or 2IPD) the physical infrastructure of postal operators is likely to suffer losses both during and after a disaster event, but it is also relatively more resilient.

One of the main reasons for the enduring nature of postal operators during a crisis is the labour intensive nature of its services. Reacting to a natural disaster calls for an intimate knowledge of the areas worst hit, and very few people have a better knowledge of the community and the people they serve than postal employees.       

“UPU’s Postal Development Report 2018 offers evidence that, after a disaster, postal networks can reboot quicker than most infrastructure and are well positioned to continue to deliver their critical services and provide badly needed humanitarian aid,” said the Director General of the UPU Bishar A. Hussein.

United Nations, Industry
 

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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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