Fuelling the humanitarian response

Tales of partnership from the Cyclone Idai response
26 April 2019

Buzi Town is a small village located along the Buzi River in Mozambique’s province of Sofala. After Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique on 14 March, strong winds and heavy rain continued, causing flash flooding and damage to road infrastructures. Many areas were only accessible via river or air transport. Buzi Town was one such location.

Severely affected by the floods that followed Idai’s path, the town became completely isolated with no fuel available to keep basic city services running.


Humanitarian actors, government and military assisting impacted communities were also in urgent need of fuel to carry out their operations.

Beira airport had quickly become a centralised hub for the response, and was busy with round-the-clock humanitarian activities and operations. Fuel required to manage the heavy equipment necessary to offload humanitarian supplies coming into the airport was running out. And, as more equipment was flown in to help with the response, more fuel was required to power it.

It was clear that fuel supply was fast becoming an issue, especially at the airport with handling equipment and also in many of the affected areas. Fuel was also crucial to ensure the transport sector could resume quickly and efficiently. The Logistics Cluster collaborated with partners to find a solution to the challenge. In these situations, the Logistics Cluster seeks to provide interim solutions that are not intended to replace the services already in place but rather to fill the gaps when other service providers are not available.

Following a coordination meeting, the Logistics Cluster reached out to Fuel Relief Fund (FRF), an organisation focussed on addressing fuel supply challenges in major disasters. FRF’s support was requested to provide dedicated fuel resources to both Buzi and to Beira Airport.

On 29 March, FRF made the first of three critical fuel donations to WFP and Logistics Cluster airport operations (1,038, 600, 800 litres of diesel respectively), enabling the humanitarian response to continue at Beira airport.


FRF supported the Logistics Cluster operation, providing dedicated fuel provision for airport operations and affected communities. Photo: Fuel Relief Fund


“Fuel can literally save lives.Without it we can’t move vehicles, we can’t get the commodities off the aircrafts and the relief items won’t go anywhere,” said Hugo du Plessis from WFP Aviation.


Less than a week later, on 2 April, FRF procured a small fishing boat, to travel two and a half hours up the Buzi River, facilitating the transport and distribution of 20 containers and two 220 litre drums of fuel to the people of Buzi Town and neighboring settlements.

"Our priority is always to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. In addition to distributing directly to individual beneficiaries and critical infrastructure, one of the ways that we’re able to have the greatest impact is by ensuring that other humanitarian actors have the fuel they need to do their work. In Mozambique, we provided fuel to WFP and the Logistics Cluster, World Central Kitchen, World Venture, local NGOs and tons of first responders, and in turn, they were able to provide critical humanitarian assistance.” said Sarah Kruger, Executive Director at FRF.


The support is a great example of the humanitarian community working together following a disaster. Photo: Fuel Relief Fund


“Partnerships, such as this one, are crucial in logistics when responding to a humanitarian emergency. We rely on eachother, and bind together. By doing this, our partners are able to reach impacted communities faster, and address some of the key gaps and challenges in the first weeks of a response,” said Global Logistics Cluster Coordinator, Stephen Cahill.



Find out more about the Logistics Cluster’s Cyclone Idai operation here.

To learn more about FRF and their response to the cyclone, go to: https://fuelrelieffund.org/