Natural calamities are difficult to prepare for because of their sheer magnitude. In such cases, relief work readiness becomes paramount. Cyclones Kenneth and Idai were prime examples of the difference dedicated relief logistics could bring to a suffering population.
On March 15 and April 25 of 2019, South West Indian Ocean was hit by two of the deadliest cyclones in the modern records - Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth. Each wreaked havoc at their landfall, causing massive loss of life and property. The infrastructure damages were estimated to be in billions of dollars, with loss of life estimated to be in thousands. More than 2 million people were displaced, living in temporary shelters and in dire need of assistance and relief.
24 hours before Idai's landfall, working closely with the global humanitarian aid and relief organisations, our Special Projects Team and local staff had already secured 6000 square meters of warehousing space, cargo handling support, inland trucking, customs clearance support and office space to help ramp up delivery operations. Our office in Maputo and the Special Projects Team arranged for combined air and ocean cargo drops into Beira, Mozambique, chartering Antonov and Ilyushin heavy lift aircraft. In addition to airborne logistics services, we also diverted a feeder vessel to make the first large deliveries of humanitarian aid into the hardest hit areas. More than 2000 tons of food, off-road vehicles, shelters, tents and other relief goods arrived by air and sea in the first few days.
More work to be done
Barely a month after Cyclone Idai struck central Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth hit the country’s northern provinces and southern Tanzania with nearly the same destructive force, leaving tens of thousands more in need of help. As the humanitarian aid community shifts resources to respond, Maersk continued to aid where required.