The RAF has taken 20 tonnes of life-saving aid to survivors of the devastating Cyclone Idai which has torn through three southern African countries.
An RAF A400M Atlas battled through “challenging” flying conditions to deliver the vital cargo to Beira International Airport in Mozambique on Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Defence said.
The 20 tonnes of equipment from the Department for International Development (DFID) included 500 water filters, 1,000 solar lanterns, 3,520 blankets and 600 shelter kits that will be distributed by UN agencies.
Navigating challenging flying conditions, an RAF aircraft delivered 20 tonnes of lifesaving UK aid supplies to those affected by the cyclone that struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. We stand united with those affected by the devastation of Cyclone Idai at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/qsOTtVyj5i— Gavin Williamson (@GavinWilliamson) March 26, 2019
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The UK stands united with those affected by the devastation of Cyclone Idai at this incredibly difficult time.
“The RAF have successfully navigated challenging flying conditions and helped deliver vital aid to assist with the relief effort.”
Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi earlier this month and the death toll has risen above 750, with Mozambique’s government declaring a national emergency.
Many villages and landmarks have been submerged by floodwater, stalling all land-based rescue missions and making the delivery of aid by air even more critical, the Ministry of Defence said.
The UK aid will help provide essential support for the 37,500 people in need of urgent shelter, it added.
A DFID flight containing more than 7,500 emergency shelter kits and family tents arrived in Mozambique’s capital Maputo on Wednesday last week.
Another UK aid flight delivered forklift trucks and other cargo-handling equipment to speed up the time it takes to unload aid from planes while DFID experts are already on the ground co-ordinating the response, the MoD said.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the UK Government was doing all it can to provide life-saving help to the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless or without food by the devastating cyclone.
#UKaid is reaching people affected by #CycloneIdai in Mozambique - with the help of @WFP @IOM_Mozambique @WFP_UNHAS and others.— DFID (@DFID_UK) March 26, 2019
Shelter kits and Plumpy Sup nutritional food being distributed by helicopter in Mozambique today.
Photo: @WPF/Marco Frattini pic.twitter.com/juVyRpIib6
She added: “The UK aid on board this RAF plane contained essential supplies, which will made a real and immediate difference to the survivors.
“This is undoubtedly one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the region, and our thoughts remain firmly with the victims.”