DPDHL Group’s Disaster Response Team comes to aid of cyclone-hit Mozambique

March 29, 2019: Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL Group) has appointed its Disaster Response Team (DRT) to provide logistics support to cyclone-hit African country Mozambique.

On the night of March 14 to 15, 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.

The Disaster Response Team is cooperating closely with national and international humanitarian aid organizations, and with the responsible airport personnel to help process relief supplies quickly so that they reach the victims of the cyclone in the fastest possible time.

This first DRT deployment to Africa is headed by Chris Week, director for Humanitarian Affairs at Deutsche Post DHL Group. He is accompanied by a team of DHL volunteers from the United Arab Emirates, Mozambique and South Africa.

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.

DHL informs through a statement: "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."

The United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have also deployed staff to Beira.

"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."

"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."

"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.

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.