A story of collaboration

The Logistics Cluster in Zimbabwe
22 July 2019

It’s close to midnight in Mutare. Two trucks travelling from Harare have just arrived transporting 60 mt of humanitarian cargo on behalf of Save the Children. Next week, that cargo is set to move onwards to Chimanimani to support communities impacted by Cyclone Idai.

At that moment, the Logistics Cluster Coordinator’s phone rings.

 

Sorry to call so late! Our truck arrived, and we need information on storage. There is no warehouse available in Chimanimani. Can you assist on where we could find storage available for 5 days?

 

A few calls later and a message comes through. The goods can be stored at World Vision’s Mutare warehouse. As part of the Cyclone Idai response, World Vision supported Logistics Cluster partners by making more than 1,800 m2 of warehouse space available for the storage of lifesaving items. In the wake of a large-scale sudden onset emergency, access to logistics services is crucial for responding organisations.

 

 

Meeting, collaborating, responding

 

Based out of Mutare, the Logistics Cluster supported 24 partner organisations – from government and local NGOs to UN agencies – through information sharing and access to common logistics services.

As with any emergency, collaboration often kicks off with a simple introduction. Following the activation of the Logistics Cluster in-country, Coordination Meetings were held on a weekly basis, bringing together the country’s various humanitarian actors to talk, discuss and identify shared challenges, bottlenecks, and solutions.

It was at these meetings where organisations like WHO and Plan International were able to identify shortfalls and needs in relief items and worked to minimize duplication of efforts. Or, when the latest access constraints were reported allowing responders to tackle challenges together, and map the most effective route to IDP camps, schools, health centres and food distribution points. It was where two crucial components of humanitarian response – teamwork and information sharing – were placed in the spotlight again and again, benefitting the humanitarian response and, ultimately, those in need.

 

 

From emergency to early recovery

 

Over the past few months, coordination has only been strengthened amongst partners, with the regular meetings acting as a catalyst to forge collaborative solutions amongst responders. From sharing resources, to coordinating transport of humanitarian cargo, this collaboration between members of the country’s humanitarian community will remain a legacy as activities shift from emergency response to early recovery.

Want to know more about the Zimbabwe response? See our operations page here https://logcluster.org/ops/zwe19a.