April 22, 2019: In its first deployment of humanitarian relief aid cargo to Africa, Deutsche Post DHL Group's Disaster Response Team (DRT) has transported nearly 800 tonnes of cargo in the wake of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.

Three teams of 12 volunteers processed cargo from approximately 50 aircraft over 20 days at Beira Airport. The DRT, with volunteers from Mozambique, South Africa and United Arab Emirates (UAE), was deployed at the airport between March 24 and April 12, 2019, at the request of the United Nations.

Chris Weeks, director for humanitarian affairs at Deutsche Post DHL Group, said, "This particular deployment was groundbreaking for us in that it was our first mission to Africa. The challenges, however, were familiar and within the first few days of arriving the DRT firmly established its coordination expertise in the supply chain of incoming humanitarian aid.

Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on March 14, leaving at least 700 people dead and 3 million in need of humanitarian assistance. It has damaged over 700,000 hectares of crops and destroyed close to 200,000 homes.

During their time in Mozambique, the DRT acted as a liaison between the Beira Airport Authorities and the large humanitarian community who occupied a vast area at the airport.

Weeks added, "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 supported international relief organisations and assisted with handling equipment, driving forklifts and high-loaders, and ensuring there was no build-up of incoming shipments.

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