Led by the World Food Programme, the Logistics Cluster was activated in Zimbabwe in early April 2019 in response to the flooding and destruction caused by Cyclone Idai in the eastern part of the country. Cyclone Idai first crossed the coast of Mozambique on the evening of 14 March, making landfall in Beira before leaving a trail of destruction across Central Mozambique. Idai then crossed over into Malawi and Zimbabwe as a Tropical Storm on 16 March where it caused severe flooding and landslides. The storm caused significant damage in Chimanimani and Chipinge provinces in the Manicaland district, rendering approximately 90% of the roads and bridges in the affected areas unusable.
The World Food Programme (WFP), as lead agency of the Logistics Cluster, was requested to support the government-led response, following the humanitarian community’s identification of common logistics gaps and the demonstrated need for cluster activation. A Logistics Cluster Coordinator and Information Management Officer were deployed to Mutare in the country’s east, which had been identified as the main coordination hub for the response, while WFP, as part of its mandate as lead agency, also acted as ‘provider of last resort’, offering logistics services to fill identified logistics gaps in the humanitarian supply chain. Overall, 24 organisations were supported through coordination, information management and facilitation of access to crucial logistics services over the course of the response.
As the situation improved and the response transitioned from emergency to early recovery, the Logistics Cluster scaled down its operational activities and began working towards rolling out preparedness initiatives, designed to build on lessons learned as part of the response to foster continued collaboration and communication within the humanitarian community in Zimbabwe.