Joint personnel assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa redeployed to Djibouti, April 12 after several weeks of providing airlift and logistics support in Mozambique in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development-led humanitarian response to Cyclone Idai.
Approximately 100 CJTF-HOA personnel on the ground in Mozambique, and more than 100 working from CJTF-HOA headquarters in Djibouti, coordinated movement of emergency supplies from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organizations to teams on the ground in support of the 1.8 million people in urgent need of help.
“I think overall CJTF-HOA executed very well,” said U.S. Army Col. Ryan O’Connor, director of operations for CJTF-HOA. “We responded quickly, we were flexible, and I think we worked well with our interagency, intergovernmental and international partners.”
USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (DART) is the lead federal agency for U.S. government international disaster relief efforts. Upon tasking from U.S. Africa Command, CJTF-HOA led the U.S. Department of Defense support to USAID’s relief efforts.
According to O’Connor, CJTF-HOA maintained a robust network of command, control, and communications capabilities, to bring all logistics together.
“We have a great team here at CJTF-HOA,” said O’Connor. “We are by far the most unique organization with which I have ever served, but in a certain respect that allows us to be responsive and flexible. I’m proud to be a member of this team and proud that we proved again we are a ‘go-to’ response force on the continent of Africa.”
In total, CJTF-HOA flew 120 missions, transported equipment and more than 80 CJTF-HOA and USAID DART personnel along with more than 782 metric tons of relief supplies to five airfields across Mozambique.
According to Angela Sherbenou, team leader for USAID’s DART, responding to the cyclone in Mozambique, the U.S. military’s logistic assistance ensured that relief supplies got on the ground. That enabled USAID’s humanitarian partners to move assistance to hard-to-reach areas where people needed aid.
“These supplies are food assistance, shelter materials, medical supplies, as well as transporting our DART experts and aid workers to the impacted areas to conduct ongoing assessments,” said Sherbenou.
An operation of this magnitude required close coordination through multiple agencies including the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique and the government of Mozambique.
“Faced with a humanitarian disaster on this scale, it was imperative for the U.S. to respond to the appeal from the Mozambican government for assistance in saving lives and alleviating suffering,” said Dennis Walter Hearne, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique.
“As I told President [of Mozambique] Nyusi, the U.S. is committed to doing all we can to help Mozambique with the massive relief and recovery challenges that it now faces,” said Hearne. “I think the American public would be extremely proud of what we’ve tried to do to help the Mozambicans through this epic tragedy, and we’ll continue to support them in every way we can.”
In close coordination with the Mozambican Government, both the U.S. Government and the humanitarian organizations continued relief efforts in Mozambique after the final departure of CJTF-HOA.