An ex-military team of volunteers are on their way to deliver aid to remote communities hit by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique – where up 1.8 million people are thought to be in desperate need of help in the wake of the disaster.
Team Rubicon UK – a team of predominantly Armed Forces veterans who are highly trained in disaster response – they aim to reach the most cut-off areas as they head out on Friday (April 12).
In the last two weeks alone, the charity has delivered 150 tonnes worth of aid to more than 11,000 people.
That includes aid to eight communities that may not have been reached without the support of the ex-military strike teams.
Paul Taylor, Team Rubicon UK’s Response Operations Manager and a former warrant officer in the British Army who has served in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Gulf War, said: “Team Rubicon’s operation is bringing essential life-saving aid to the most difficult to reach communities. Our work will help reduce the spread of disease and save lives of the men, women and children affected by the devastation.
“Food, shelter and water remain the primary needs for the survivors in all communities impacted by this horrific disaster. Flooding caused by the cyclone has severely affected hygiene and cases of cholera are on the rise with 376 cases now confirmed.”
Some supplies have started to arrive but many communities have remained inaccessible, raising fears that the death toll could rise to more than a thousand lives lost.
Kirsty Dolan, Team Rubicon UK’s communications director, said:
“Every day our teams are pushing into new territories, where the people have seen no aid workers since the catastrophic cyclone and flooding three weeks ago.
“We are focused on helping those who are most in need. We have created forward operating bases to conduct needs assessments and to coordinate the delivery and distribution of life-saving aid. The work is relentless and conditions are challenging.”
Team Rubicon UK has three strike teams of disaster responders working day and night to provide isolated communities with the most basic of human needs - food, shelter and clean water.
The disaster response charity’s latest team arrives over the weekend – taking the total number to more than 20 volunteers who aim to deliver aid and assistance to some of the most extreme locations.
This new team, which consists of five volunteers, will not only act as a top-up to the teams on the ground already but also allows some down time for the rest of the team who have been working around the clock since the disaster struck.
Team Rubicon UK is an international disaster response charity, with headquarters in Chilmark near Salisbury, whose mainly ex-military volunteers provide relief aid to disaster survivors across the globe.
The charity has more than 1,400 volunteers who are trained in rigorous disaster response training to ensure they are always ready to deploy, whether in the UK or across the world when a humanitarian crisis unfolds.
It receives no Government funding and no funds from the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC).
The charity’s volunteers have expertise in water purification, needs assessment, damage assessment support using drones and what is known as last-mile logistics – the final step of a delivery process to the end user, in this case in challenging environments.
The team deploying now will be trying to reach the most cut-off communities in the Buzi district of Mozambique where the charity has delivered 72 tonnes of life-saving aid. Ms Dolan:
“Our volunteers’ military backgrounds are critical to the success of the operation, as they head into some of the most challenging and austere locations.”
The cyclone and subsequent flooding have devastated the communities in the region.
People have lost their homes, their livelihoods and in some cases, their loves ones. Ms Dolan added:
“Their needs are desperate, for them every minute counts.
“Our teams are delivering against their most basic human survival needs: tarpaulin to create shelter, sacks of corn and soya mix with sugar and essential cooking equipment.
“We are also delivering specialist equipment to provide clean, safe water. For just £2 a week, we can provide clean water for a family for five.”