2020. Coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill even in the French department of Réunion. Restaurants and hotels cannot receive any guests and shops have been cleared out by panic-buying. At its location in Le Port in the northwest of the island, Pro à Pro – a METRO delivery specialist for the French market – received an emergency call from Défi Plastik, a non-profit organisation that monitors plastic pollution in the Indian Ocean: the village of Mafate needed urgent help!
Because of its location in a volcanic crater, Mafate can only be reached by helicopter or by a 2-day trek. The lockdown, which has affected even this distant outpost of the European Union, has made it almost impossible for the 185 families in the village to get food supplies. At the same time, the Pro à Pro FSD depot is well stocked with food with no-one to buy it because the island’s restaurants and hotels are closed.
From the warehouse across the island
Suddenly everything happened at once. Within a week, the Pro à Pro team put together food parcels and collaborated with Défi Plastik to bring them by helicopter to Mafate. Thanks to this effort, non-perishables like rice, flour and tins as well as fresh fruit and vegetables found their way to 185 families.
‘It was not the decision of one individual to help but a matter of course for the entire team to mobilise all of our resources and to help where help was needed,’ says Loїc Bohan, Director for DOM [French Overseas Departments] and Direct Export at Pro à Pro. ‘From the pickers in the depot to the delivery drivers, everyone worked together to make this neighbourhood assistance possible.’