Mozambique: Deutsche Post DHL Group Disaster Response Team provides logistical support following devastating tropical cyclone Idai

April 06, 2019 - 02:38
Mozambique: Deutsche Post DHL Group Disaster Response Team provides logistical support following devastating tropical cyclone Idai

  • The naturaldisaster caused widespread damage and destruction
  • Volunteers fromDeutsche Post DHL Group assist humanitarian logistics at the airport in Beira
  • First DisasterResponse Team deployment in Africa


BONN, GERMANYMedia OutReach  - 3 April 2019 - Onthe night of March 14th to 15th, cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique andneighboring countries Zimbabwe and Malawi. A series of storm surges and massiveflooding followed, causing widespread damage and destruction. In Mozambiquehundreds of thousands of people are said to be homeless, electricity supply issporadic 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 asone thousand. The Mozambiquegovernment has declared a state of emergency. Extensive damage toinfrastructure such as communications systems, electricity supply and roads ismaking it extremely difficult to provide humanitarian help and logistics.Deutsche Post DHL Group has deployed its Disaster Response Team (DRT) toprovide assistance at the local airport in Beira. The DRT advises airportpersonnel and coordinates incoming humanitarian aid for non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs). This first DRT deployment to Africa is headed by Chris Weeks,Director for Humanitarian Affairs at Deutsche Post DHL Group. He is accompaniedby a team of DHL volunteers from the United Arab Emirates, Mozambiqueand South Africa.


The United Nations and other humanitarian organizations havealso deployed staff to Beira. Many of thehelpers are still at the airport and are organizing safe options for onwardtransport. "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 providehumanitarian help." The Disaster Response Team is cooperating closely withnational and international humanitarian aid organizations, and with theresponsible airport personnel to provide logistical support. "In the wake of anatural disaster, logistical coordination of relief supplies is crucial," saysWeeks. "As logistics specialists with vast experience in disaster management,our skills and expertise can help save lives. We help airport personnel toprocess relief supplies quickly so that they reach the victims of the cyclonein the fastest possible time."


"We have been here since the start of the week. One and ahalf weeks after the disaster, conditions in this part of Mozambiqueremain critical. The rain hasn't let up, the floodwater can't drain away andthe river continues to rise," says Weeks. "Right now, the airport in Beirais one of the few places in the city that is dry and has functioninginfrastructure." The airport is currently receiving most of the incoming aidsuch as water, food, tents, fuel, medical supplies and technical equipment.These are sorted and distributed in Beiraas well as in rural areas and other places affected by the cyclone.


"It's hard to estimate the full extent of the damage anddestruction 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 stagnantwater and increases the need for medical supplies. Our team is standing by tohelp," says Weeks.


About theDisaster Response Team

The DRTs are partof DPDHL Group's GoHelp disaster management program, which it has operated inpartnership with the United Nations (UN) since 2005. Through this partnership,the Group provides the UN and national disaster management agencies with probono access to its core logistics expertise, and the logistics skills of morethan 500 specially-trained employee volunteers worldwide who can deploy within72 hours after a natural disaster. 


Since thepartnership was launched, the DRTs have completed more than 40 deployments fordifferent natural disasters in over 20 countries -- most recently the teamhelped the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Indonesia in October2018.


In addition to theDRT deployments, the Group's Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) initiative --also part of the GoHelp program -- trains airport management in high-riskregions to be better prepared should disaster strike.


You can find thepress release for download as well as further information on

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