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MAPUTO, Mozambique: March 21, 2019. Grindrod South Africa has diverted its 14,357dwt container vessel MV Border to deliver humanitarian aid from Maputo, Mozambique to the port region of Beira, devastated by Cyclone Idai.

According to local aid officials and relief agencies, 90 percent of Beira, a city of 500,000 people, and its surrounding area has been destroyed (picture: flooding in Mozambique - WFP).

WFP MozambiqueBetween 1987 and 2006 disasters affected 19.2 million people in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries and most vulnerable to natural disasters and the effects of climate change.

Six days after Idai made landfall, reports suggest the human toll in Mozambique could exceed 1,000 with many hundreds more in Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The aid vessel, operated by Grindrod’s Ocean Africa Container Lines, arrived in Maputo earlier today where it is loading consolidated humanitarian aid shipments prior to departing for Beira on March 22 and arriving the following day.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Mozambique. We pray for their safety and hope that you all come through this without any harm,” said Andrew Waller, CEO Grindrod Limited.

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), a partnership that includes the Mozambican Railway Company Grindrod and DP World, has provided two warehouses for the consolidation of aid from Mozambique’s disaster management organisation (INGC), the Mozambican Red Cross, WFP and other UN organizations, COSACA and Islamic charities.

Meanwhile a B747 aircraft arrived in Maputo on March 19 carrying 51 tonnes of relief shipments from Save the Children including 8,400 tarpaulins, 3,500 terry cans, 2,500 buckets and 20 tents.

Ocean Africa MV BorderThe aid agency said it has begun delivering supplies to Chimoio, a town in the west of the country that lies close to the path of the cyclone where thousands are homeless and cut off by flooding.

As part of the COSACA aid consortium with Oxfam and Care, Save the Children is working to make Chimoio a key logistics hub for the aid response.

Machiel Pouw, the aid organisation’s response team leader in Mozambique commented: “As we fight to gain access to more and more of the country, the needs are skyrocketing. These supplies will help families store and carry safe water to guard against disease, and shelter from the continuing rains, both in the area around Chimoio and elsewhere in the country.

“It is incredibly tough to get to communities that have been cut off by the disaster. But we are working round the clock to get everywhere children need us and we have already started flying our prepositioned stocks of tents into Beira,” he continued.

A 97-tonne shipment of aid from Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC) arrived at Maputo on March 20 loaded with medicine, telecommunications equipment, tents, and shelter toolkits. The aid came from stocks maintained at the IHC by the World Food Programme's telecommunications and coordination support services team, the World Health Organization, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, the Swedish Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.

The flight was arranged by the IHC to support the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), a logistics consortium of UN agencies and NGOs involved in relief and development.

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