Almost every person I’ve met since arriving in Mozambique has spoken of the resilience, determination, and generosity of communities affected by Cyclone Idai. The congregation who, after working together in the painstaking process of untangling the roof irons and rebuilding the framework of their destroyed church by hand, worshipped together this week for the first time since the cyclone hit. The farmers and property owners who have welcomed displaced families onto their land, in spite of the financial impact this may have for them personally.
It is this strength of human spirit that George Fenton, an Airlink board member and chief executive of the Humanitarian Logistics Association, and I had the privilege of witnessing in Beira yesterday. It is overwhelmingly clear that the people affected by Cyclone Idai are not helpless victims, rather resilient survivors who just need help rebuilding their lives.
Many of Airlink’s nonprofit partners have stepped up to do exactly that. They’ve brought their expertise to support the immediate response, while also spending time training, mentoring, and empowering local community members to ensure this expertise remains after the disaster responders leave.
George and I met Lorenzo, the hospital property manager, who has been trained to operate and maintain water filtration systems donated by GlobalMedic. We also spent time with local community members volunteering with World Central Kitchen in the delivery of around 20,000 meals a day — playing a key role in determining the daily menu, preparing and distributing food, and learning valuable skills in food hygiene and preparation. And the medical professionals from Mobile Medics International, who are providing much needed triage and treatment services, while also building the skill sets of local healthcare workers.
This is just a snapshot of the stories we’ve heard over and over since arriving in Mozambique. And the collective efforts of both the affected communities and the humanitarians providing expertise and support are already having a positive impact.
For example, while the number of registered cholera cases continues to rise, 97% of the 3,577 reported cases have now been treated and recovered. Furthermore, in recent days the number of people receiving the cholera vaccine has risen to 82% of the target, with almost 745,609 people now vaccinated. This example demonstrates why it is so essential for the medical professionals and other qualified experts Airlink transports to get on the ground quickly in the aftermath of a disaster.
Airlink and our supporters help make the lifesaving and life-changing assistance we witnessed this week possible by drawing on the power of the aviation sector as a force for good.
About our response to Cyclone Idai: To-date, Airlink has transported 46 disaster responders and more than 34,000 pounds of aid for 12 partners responding to Cyclone Idai. Through Airlink’s partnership with nongovernmental organizations, airlines and donors, disaster survivors are receiving medical care, food, clean water and other necessities supporting their recovery. Follow our response to Cyclone Idai.