It’s less than two weeks since cyclone Idai left a trail of destruction through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, and the full extent of the damage and total death toll is still unknown. Although authorities in the countries and aid agencies have been responding and recovery is underway.
We have a significant presence in all four countries, and we have responded rapidly too, looking after our staff and their families, attending to our customers and making a contribution to the broader recovery effort where we are working with the Red Cross.
Apart from working around the clock to re-establish business operations and services to customers, we are contributing to the overall relief effort across the region. We have donated funds to the Danish Red Cross, and seconded one of our employees to assist with logistics operations at their facility in Copenhagen, where Red Cross shipments are handled.
Critically, we are supporting the transport of emergency equipment from neighbouring countries to Malawi, leaving the Red Cross to focus on humanitarian and rescue work.
One of the worst hit areas was Beira on the coast in central Mozambique. The city’s 500,000 people are coming to terms with the damage – water and electricity have been restored, roads out of Beira have been reopened and the airport is busy with aid agencies bringing much needed supplies.
We have a base in Beira, handling minerals, agricultural products, mining equipment and general cargo. Our office and warehouse were badly damaged, but fortunately our people are safe, in part because our country MD, Philipp Buechler, closed the facility before the storm hit Beira.
Philipp then travelled to Johannesburg to brief our CEO in South Africa, Keith Pienaar, before they both left Polokwane on Sunday, 17 March in a chartered helicopter, heading for Beira. Bad weather forced them to overnight at Hotel Santorini in Vilanculos, which has their own Helipad / air facility. The Hotel Manager immediately offered help and got involved in our Emergency Planning for the next day. Waynand arranged for 200 bottles of 5 Litre Fresh Water to be delivered to Vilanculos Airport with the Hotel Guest Shuttle that same day. He also arranged a smooth loading process for our chartered Aircraft (Cessna Caravane) with the airport Manager. A big thank you to Hotel Santorini, Waynand and his Team.
Keith and Philipp landed in Beira on Monday to assess the damage and to demonstrate solidarity with our staff in the city and the people of the region. We chartered a plane to deliver water, food and first aid materials to assist our employees and their families.
Image: DSV South Africa and Mozambique team
The recovery effort has a way to go. The World Health Organization has warned of a "second disaster" if waterborne diseases like cholera spread. Some 460 people have been killed, although the death toll is expected to rise as bodies are recovered. Around 1,8 million people need help. Media reported that health workers are opening clinics across Beira, the centre of relief operations for the region.