Cyclone Kenneth Disaster Response Update

Published: 2 May 2019

‘Today was a day of small victories,’ reported MAF’s Laura Hibberd, part of the MAF Disaster response team in Mozambique providing support and logistics support to the following Hurricane Kenneth.

Story by Laura Hibberd. Photos by Laura Hibberd and John Gorenflo.

‘Our first flight of the day was an Aerial Survey flight for various media outlets.  Seeing the destruction in locations such as Matemo is sobering.  As one journalist commented after our flight, “Thank you so, so much for taking us.  The world needs to see this.”’ 

‘Previous days have been quite fraught with challenges such as weather, lack of relief supplies in Pemba, and communication challenges with all the aid and government organisations. 

‘Today [Wednesday], however,' Laura explains, outlining the help that is beginning to arrive to help the storm-stricken town, 'a plane arrived from the Department for International Development (DFID), loaded with pallets of tarps. Trucks are arriving in Pemba with food and other relief supplies.’ 

MAF is helping to transport supplies to hard-hit outlying areas including Ibo Island, located off the coast of Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado Province, which bore the brunt of the incoming storm last Thursday, 25 April. 

V-SAT Communications

On Tuesday the Caravan flew John Gorenflo, to Ibo Island with the VSAT Communications system and other emergency supplies.

The system was put to good use on Wednesday to make an urgent request for tents for partner organisation Oikos. ‘As we listened to their needs,’ Laura explains, ‘they were lamenting the lack of a “staging area” since they didn’t have a good central location to do distribution, protect supplies, etc. Our VSAT coms allowed a last-minute message from Ibo to reach Rick and Dave in Pemba to “please bring 5 tents!” Which they did!’

“Thank you so, so much for taking us.  The world needs to see this.” Journalist

Distributing aid

The MAF Cessna Caravan and partner organisation, IRIS Relief’s Kodiak, delivered nearly 3,700kgs of emergency aid to Ibo Island. Amongst the cargo there were 1,800 tarps provided by DIFD and 544 kg of ‘Mana Packs’ (Food) provided by IRIS Relief.

A Rescue SA team on board the flight provided huge assistance transporting the supplies to the village - which is located a long way from the airstrip. This enabled a fast turnaround time for the plane which was able to return to Pember and collect more supplies.  

The distribution of aid on Ibo Island is being co-ordinated by Oikos an organisation with a base there. Oikos works with local people to encourage sustainable development and awareness of the need to steward the environmental.  

Oikos will begin bringing aid to the nearby island of Matemo on Thursday for distribution.

Clean water

MAF was able to assist other agencies bringing help to Ibo including Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

'SDC contacted us about an assessment flight to Ibo so they could begin to provide water purification,' Laura explains. 

'The wells on Ibo are all contaminated and the Islanders are in desperate need of drinking water.

‘As we now have a staff member on Ibo and have made a connection with other local resources on Ibo, we were able to answer many of their questions. As a result, SDC can bring in equipment more quickly, leapfrogging some of the assessment process,’ Laura said. 

A flight was planned for today so SDC can begin to provide clean water to the island.     

Please pray

  • Please continue to pray for the people of Mozambique who are impacted by this storm, and for all the relief workers and the plans that are being made to help those in need.
  • Pray that today’s flights to Matemo Island carrying food and tarps will bring relief and hope to the community.
  • Pray for the medevac patient medevaced from Ibo today with a badly injured leg.