PICS: US military airlifting food and other humanitarian aid supplies from Durban to Mozambique

The US military has joined the huge humanitarian aid efforts with an around the clock operation through which food and relief supplies were being airlifted from Durban to the cyclone Idai-hit Mozambique.

Spokesperson for the US mission in South Africa, Rob Mearkle, said the US Consul General, Sherry Zalika Sykes, visited King Shaka International Airport on Sunday to view yet another shipment of food and other supplies from the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Mearkle said the US Air Force was providing airlift support in South Africa for the USAID-led humanitarian response to cyclone Idai. He said the first batch of supplies were jetted out of Durban on Saturday.

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) expedited the necessary authorisations for the airlifts, while "invaluable assistance" had been provided by Swissport, Dube Port Cargo, Skytanking, BidAir and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Mearkle said.

He said the commodities that were being airlifted from Durban were from WFP's internal stock.

"Separately from these shipments, the United States has provided nearly $3.4m in additional funding for the WFP to deliver approximately 2 500 metric tons of rice, peas, and vegetable oil to affected people in Sofala, Zambezia, and Manica provinces.  This lifesaving emergency food assistance will support approximately 160 000 people for one month," Mearkle said.

"To date, the US government has provided nearly $7.3m (R105m) in humanitarian assistance to help people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi who have been affected by Cyclone Idai, as well as flooding that occurred earlier this month. This includes more than $6.5 million from USAID."

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Supplies loaded into US military aircrafts in Durban this morning. (Supplied)

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