A400M Atlas aircraft will deliver up to 20 tonnes of UK aid supplies to those affected by the devastating cyclone, say the MoD.
The Government of Mozambique has declared a national emergency in the aftermath of the cyclone and the arrival of the aircraft next week will ensure UK aid can be used to meet immediate needs on the ground, say the UK Government.
Tropical Cyclone Idai is regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole. The long-lived storm caused catastrophic damage in multiple nations, leaving more than 700 people dead and hundreds more missing.
In the Southern Hemisphere, its death toll is comparable to that of the 1892 Mauritius cyclone, the 1903 French Polynesia cyclone, the 1927 Madagascar cyclone, and Cyclone Leon–Eline in 2000.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The UK stands united with those affected by the devastation of Cyclone Idai at this incredibly difficult time. Our partners across the globe can count on our Armed Forces to lend a helping hand in times of need, which is why are sending an RAF aircraft to assist with the aid relief.”
The deadly cyclone and torrential rains may have left more than a thousand people dead in Mozambique alone and it is one of the biggest humanitarian disasters the region has ever faced. It is estimated by the UN that 350,000 people are still at risk due to rising water levels in urban and rural areas.
UK aid on board the aircraft will help towards providing vital relief for the 37,500 people in need of urgent shelter. Current reports indicate at least 17,400 homes have been completely destroyed by the cyclone and flooding and the RAF’s rapid deployment of the aircraft will help ensure the timely delivery of UK aid supplies.