Maputo – The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), and its main shareholders, DP World of Dubai and the South African company Grindrod, have hired a container ship to carry humanitarian aid to the central city of Beira, which was devastated by Cyclone Idai last Thursday.
According to an MPDC press release issued on Tuesday, the container ship, the “MV Border”, operated by Ocean Africa Container Lines, will carry goods from Maputo to Beira. It can carry 500 containers, with a total capacity for 14,000 tonnes of cargo.
Since the cyclone cut off access to Beira by land, ships are the most practical way of taking emergency aid to the city.
MPDC says it has made two warehouses in the Maputo port coastal shipping terminal available for goods that will be sent to Beira on board the “MV Border”. Volunteers from various civil society organisations will be on hand in the port to help in the collection and loading of the aid for Beira. The ship is due to arrive in Maputo on Thursday or Friday.
MPDC urges that goods donated to the cyclone victims should be delivered as soon as possible to the coastal shipping terminal, in boxes or paletes, separated by type of goods, and accompanies with a list of the donations.
The release says that MPDC is working with the country’s official relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies, the Mozambican Red Cross, and various other humanitarian and religious bodies.
The Indian government has announced that it is sending three ships to Beira, to provide immediate assistance. The ships are loading with food, clothing and medicines, and are also carrying three doctors and five nurses to provide medical aid.
The cyclone knocked out Beira’s electricity and water supply systems, as well as most mobile phone communications. Food shortages are reported from the city, and housing in the poorer neighbourhoods has been laid waste.
As yet, no full assessment of the damage is available.