HARARE-The European Union (EU) has provided a helicopter to assist the current relief exercise towards the victims of the Cyclone Idai which resulted in the destruction of infrastructure and left many families homeless, disdained and vulnerable.
A press release issued Monday by the EU revealed that the body had provided a helicopter to be used through its World Food Program (WFP) to support transportation of essentials relief goods and the injured people during for a period of 3 weeks.
The helicopter, which started operating on Monday in Mutare, is capable of transporting nineteen people and it is also aimed to support the responders of the effects of Cyclone Idai who are struggling to reach the most devastated areas in Chimanimani and Chipinge and give help there.
“The helicopter (Mi-8AMT), operated by the World Food Program (WFP), started its mission this morning from Mutare.
“It can transport up to three metric tonnes or 19 people and will connect responders with cut-off and hard to reach areas of Chimanimani and Chipinge.
“This enables transport of necessary relief items (NFIs), but aslo personnel and injured people fro a period of approximately three weeks.
“The helicopter will be at the free disposal of about humanitarian organisiations and will do about five rotations per day,” the press release reads.
EU Ambassador Timo Olkkenen, who is expected to visit the affected areas this week on Wednesday, said they are sure that the helicopter will absolutely overcome the hurdles which are currently encountered during the transportation of relief items to the victims of the Cyclone Idai.
He also said with provision of a helicopter by the UN in Zimbabwe, humanitarian teams are now capable of reaching the affected people and supply them with essentials and the helicopter will also allow to give a clear picture of degree of destruction and devastation to UN so that further assistance may be coordinated and promote continuation of relief exercise.
“We believe that this helicopter will make will make a crucial difference to the difficult relief operations currently underway.
“The humanitarian teams are now able to the reach the victims in the most remote areas , supply them with relief items, including medicines, shelter kits and hygiene packs, and to assist the medical evacuation where needed.
“Flying into the affected areas will also help us gathering a better picture of the extent of damage and devastation and coordinate further assistance,” he said.