The disaster response team assembles Posted February 11, 2013 by Adrian Nance


Our disaster response team gets together.  Clive Langmead (a Trustee) meets Andrew Shipton (our helicopter pilot) to take the helicopter to Mozambique as part of our response to the disaster reported by IRIN News.

The response team is needed for what?

In 2013, about 170,000 people were affected by the flood on the Limpopo River.  Many hundreds of thousands of people live on that flood plain in Mozambique.  The plain is wide and flat.  So when the Limpopo bursts its banks, large areas of land can be inundated by floods.  This forces large numbers of people off their farm land and out of their villages.  They go up to higher ground.  Sometimes camps need to be set up to concentrate the disaster affected people.  Concentrated they can be more easily fed and helped.

The Government of Mozambique is responsible for the disaster response in their country.  Their response team is drawn from across the government.  The UN is also part of the team.  They may activate the cluster system.  Clusters allow response team specialists to draw together.  Then they can coordinate their assessments of the hazards and the needs.  Then they can coordinate their responses and target the most needy.  The cluster that engages us most is the logistics cluster.  The logistics cluster is normally chaired by a senior World Food Program representative.  The WFP is the UN agency which is responsible for distributing food aid.

The previous very large flood in the Limpopo valley was in the year 2000.   Even more people were affected then.  So the response team was much bigger.  But much of the major response was not as quick as it might have been.

Do we need a big response team?

Our disaster response team for the 2013 flood was Andrew Shipton (pilot) Clive Langmead (ground coordination) and Sergio Ido (translator and liaison).  These three men operated from Xai-Xai in Gaza Province in Mozambique.   MAF Mozambique‘s Dave LePoidevin and Mercy Air‘s Matthias Reutter were also part of the response, responding for their own organizations.  They also helped us.  It was a great disaster response effort.

Well done team!