Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL)’s Disaster Response Team have ended their first deployment in Africa having handled nearly 800 tonnes of Cyclone Idai aid.
The last team members left Beira, Mozambique on 12 April having processed the humanitarian aid from approximately 50 aircraft for distribution to those affected by the disaster.
Cyclone Idai made landfall on 4 March in Mozambique and killed more than 1,000 people through strong winds and flooding across Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
The team were deployed at Beira Airport between 24 March and 12 April at the request of the United Nations.
12 DHL volunteers from Mozambique, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates worked in rotation across three teams, handling incoming relief goods and coordinating incoming humanitarian aid.
Chris Weeks, director of humanitarian affairs at DPDHL says it was the first mission to Africa, and the team firmly established its expertise to manage the supply chain.
He says: “All too often the sudden influx of relief aid to an airport creates bottlenecks and aid is unable to get out in a timely manner. This was precisely the scenario the team was trying to avoid and able to do so successfully.”
The team acted as a liaison between the Beira Airport Authorities and the humanitarian community who occupied a vast area of the airport.
They supported international relief organisations such as IFRC, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, ASB, WFP, USAid and UKAid and assisted with handling equipment, driving forklifts and high-loaders and ensuring there was no build-up of incoming shipments.
Stephen Cahill, global logistics cluster coordinator at the United Nations World Food Programme says: “We are grateful to the DHL volunteers who worked tirelessly alongside the humanitarian community to help move relief items efficiently in order for those affected to receive help as quickly as possible.”