disaster caused widespread damage and destruction
Deutsche Post DHL Group assist humanitarian logistics at the airport in Beira
- First Disaster
Response Team deployment in Africa
BONN, GERMANY - Media OutReach
- 3 April 2019 - On
the night of March 14th to 15th, cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique and
neighboring countries Zimbabwe and Malawi. A series of storm surges and massive
flooding followed, causing widespread damage and destruction. In Mozambique
hundreds of thousands of people are said to be homeless, electricity supply is
sporadic and large swathes of the country are cut off from the outside world.
Current reports say there are 550 casualties, but estimates point to as many as
one thousand. The Mozambique
government has declared a state of emergency. Extensive damage to
infrastructure such as communications systems, electricity supply and roads is
making it extremely difficult to provide humanitarian help and logistics.
Deutsche Post DHL Group has deployed its Disaster Response Team (DRT) to
provide assistance at the local airport in Beira. The DRT advises airport
personnel and coordinates incoming humanitarian aid for non-governmental
organizations (NGOs). This first DRT deployment to Africa is headed by Chris Weeks,
Director for Humanitarian Affairs at Deutsche Post DHL Group. He is accompanied
by a team of DHL volunteers from the United Arab
and South Africa.
The United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have
also deployed staff to Beira. Many of the
helpers are still at the airport and are organizing safe options for onward
transport. "There isn't much aid coming in right now," Chris Weeks explains,
"but we expect that to change as the UN has allocated USD 20 million to provide
humanitarian help." The Disaster Response Team is cooperating closely with
national and international humanitarian aid organizations, and with the
responsible airport personnel to provide logistical support. "In the wake of a
natural disaster, logistical coordination of relief supplies is crucial," says
Weeks. "As logistics specialists with vast experience in disaster management,
our skills and expertise can help save lives. We help airport personnel to
process relief supplies quickly so that they reach the victims of the cyclone
in the fastest possible time."
"We have been here since the start of the week. One and a
half weeks after the disaster, conditions in this part of Mozambique
remain critical. The rain hasn't let up, the floodwater can't drain away and
the river continues to rise," says Weeks. "Right now, the airport in Beira
is one of the few places in the city that is dry and has functioning
infrastructure." The airport is currently receiving most of the incoming aid
such as water, food, tents, fuel, medical supplies and technical equipment.
These are sorted and distributed in Beira
as well as in rural areas and other places affected by the cyclone.
"It's hard to estimate the full extent of the damage and
destruction caused. We'll no doubt see follow-on effects over the next few days
-- such as outbreaks of diseases like malaria, which is fostered by stagnant
water and increases the need for medical supplies. Our team is standing by to
help," says Weeks.
Disaster Response Team
The DRTs are part
of DPDHL Group's GoHelp disaster management program, which it has operated in
partnership with the United Nations (UN) since 2005. Through this partnership,
the Group provides the UN and national disaster management agencies with pro
bono access to its core logistics expertise, and the logistics skills of more
than 500 specially-trained employee volunteers worldwide who can deploy within
72 hours after a natural disaster.
partnership was launched, the DRTs have completed more than 40 deployments for
different natural disasters in over 20 countries -- most recently the team
helped the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Indonesia in October
In addition to the
DRT deployments, the Group's Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) initiative --
also part of the GoHelp program -- trains airport management in high-risk
regions to be better prepared should disaster strike.
You can find the
press release for download as well as further information on dpdhl.com/pressreleases
You can read more
about our CR activities in our latest CR Report
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