The Indian Navy has been pressed into service to rescue and help people affected by cyclone Idai, which has triggered a massive disaster in southern Africa.
There were widespread flooding and devastation in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi regions.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi called it “a humanitarian disaster of great proportion”.
He said more than 1,000 people may have been killed after the cyclone hit the country last week. He sought help from the Indian government.
Immediately, the ships of First Training Squadron of Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi, and Shardul) operating in the Southern Indian Ocean were diverted to Port Beira, Mozambique.
It was done minutes after request received from the Mozambique government to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
INS Sujata along with ICGS Sarathi arrived at Port Beira on the morning of March 18 whilst INS Shardul arrived on March 19 and are providing necessary support to the local administration, said Indian Navy in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Upon arrival at the port, the Indian Navy ships shifted from anchorage and berthed alongside taking advantage of the tide and commenced liaison work with local authorities immediately.
Cyclone Idai made landfall at Beira, Mozambique in early hours of March 15, 2019, causing widespread damage and loss of human life in the Central and Northern provinces of the country.
Preliminary inputs indicate that the city of Beira faced the maximum devastation with large scale damage to infrastructure.
There are also reports of about 5000 personnel marooned at Buzi near Port Beira requiring immediate evacuation.
The safe evacuation of the affected personnel by IN ships is being coordinated in consultation with local authorities.
The disembarkation of HADR stores including food, medicines, and clothing to the Mozambique Defence authorities has been completed. Arrangements are in progress to disembark potable water.
The Defence Minister of Mozambique visited Indian Navy ships to oversee the relief efforts.
The Senior Officer of First Training Squadron, Capt Varun Singh, NM embarked onboard Indian Navy Ship Sujata has indicated to the Mozambique Navy that no effort would be spared by the Indian Navy ships in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort.
The helicopter from India Navy Ship Shardul is operating from the local airport for reccee and SAR.
The boats, Landing Craft Assault and Gemini rubberised craft with divers would be used to render assistance for evacuation of marooned personnel.
The Indian Navy ships are also to set up medical camps and provide food, water, blankets, and other necessary relief items, as required by the local authorities.
“The situation is being monitored closely and the Indian Navy is prepared to render all necessary assistance to the local population in Mozambique,” Indian Navy stated.