DEC member British Red Cross deploys emergency team to support Mozambique relief efforts


A British Red Cross emergency hygiene and sanitation team has arrived in Mozambique to provide safe water and latrines for the tens of thousands of people affected by Cyclone Idai.

The four-member team have arrived Beira, the fourth largest city in Mozambique, where 90% of homes and buildings are thought to have been destroyed. The British Red Cross team are setting up a mass sanitation unit for 20,000 people.

This kit includes tools to dig latrines to safely dispose of human waste. The unit also includes hygiene promotion materials, such as water treatment tablets, soap and disinfectant.

British Red Cross is one of 14 members of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The DEC Cyclone Idai appeal has so far raised £21m. The UK Government matched pound for pound £4 million donated by the public to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal.

To donate to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal, go to or by calling 0370 60 60 610.

Ben Webster, British Red Cross Head of Emergencies, said: “With so many people made homeless by the cyclone, sanitation becomes absolutely paramount to prevent the spread of disease.

“The sanitation infrastructure has been badly damaged so there is a high risk of health epidemics such as cholera. Our team members will be doing everything from digging pits and trenches for latrines to visiting local people with hygiene promotion messages such as the importance of hand washing and distributing water purification tablets.”

The kit also includes equipment such as tents, camp beds, mattresses and sleeping bags to allow the team to remain self-sufficient for up to a month - reducing the burden on local resources.

Team leader Luis Sfeir-Younis said: “Cyclone Idai has caused more destruction than anyone could have expected and is pushing millions of people into a desperate and critical situation.

“The work of our team will be vital for preventing further loss of life and to minimise the suffering caused by ongoing flooding and damaged infrastructure.”

Between them, team members have responded to emergencies in Mozambique, Nepal, Bangladesh and Greece.

In addition to the mass sanitation unit being sent by the British Red Cross a water emergency response unit is being deployed by the Spanish Red Cross with support from the French Red Cross, this team will be able to provide 225,000 litres of clean water per day – enough for 15,000 people.

A logistics unit, designed to manage the complex logistics involved in an operation of this scale, is being deployed by the Swiss Red Cross.

The British Red Cross mass sanitation unit deployment is being supported by the Swedish Red Cross.



Notes to Editors

  • Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours).
  • UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 0207 023 0600 (24 hour).
  • At times of very great need, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s leading aid agencies and broadcasters to maximise fundraising and quickly deliver effective emergency relief. The DEC brings together 14 major UK aid agencies: Action Against Hunger, Action Aid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.
  • Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £4 million. UK Aid Match has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia in 2018.
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
  • To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to
    • £30 can provide blankets to keep two families warm.
    • £50 could provide a family with food for one month.
    • £100 could help build toilet and washing facilities for families who lost their homes.