Aircraft loaded with British troops and aid will leave RAF Brize Norton this morning for the Caribbean, as part of the relief effort for areas devastated by Hurricane Irma.
A C17 and a Voyager will fly to the Caribbean to deliver rations, water, medical equipment and other humanitarian aid.
230 soldiers will leave RAF Brize Norton for the Caribbean today, a combination of both Royal Marines and Royal Engineers.
The supply ship RFA Mounts Bay has already been deployed to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma with 40 Royal Marines on board, as well as army engineers and equipment. HMS Ocean will head to Gibraltar to pick up relief supplies before joining her.
RFA Mounts Bay is currently in the British Virgin Islands and yesterday was assisting in Anguila.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:
“When crisis hits, it is right that the world looks to Britain for its leadership and the UK has already provided lifesaving support.
The UK has already sent emergency UK aid relief supplies including 200 shelter kits, each able to support a family of five, providing immediate relief to 1,000 people who have lost their homes.
I have sent world leading humanitarian experts to the region who are working with the British Red Cross to urgently assess need and ensure that the UK’s help reaches those whose lives have been torn apart by the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.”
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“In the face of such devastation, I have authorised the deployment of a task group to the region.
Over the next 24 hours troops and engineers held at high readiness in the UK will deploy with helicopters to support the relief effort. I am also sending a command headquarters to co-ordinate our efforts.”
With the danger posed by Hurricane Jose which will hit areas already affected by the storms we are diverting a second ship to the Caribbean, our flagship HMS Ocean, to bring the help that will be needed in reconstruction after the hurricanes has passed.”
Additionally, Team Rubicon has a team in transit to the Caribbean to assess the humanitarian requirements after Hurricane Irma slammed into islands causing widespread devastation.
Team Rubicon’s primary mission is to enable ex-servicemen and women to rapidly provide relief to those affected by disasters, be they domestic or international.
Hurricane Irma, a category 5 Hurricane, is the strongest Atlantic storm in recorded history. Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the coming hours and days.
It is highly likely to affect the islands within the next 48 hours, bringing with it dangerous winds, storm surges, and extreme rainfall, along with rough surf and rip currents. There is potential for significant humanitarian impact – many thousands of people have been evacuated into emergency shelters. The hurricane has destroyed buildings and caused major flooding.
Director of Field Operations Oz Lane said:
“It’s clear that Hurricane Irma has absolutely devastated the affected islands, destroying buildings, leaving families homeless and seeing a tragic loss of life. The local communities are going to face enormous challenges in the coming days, weeks and even months.
Team Rubicon will be assessing what the immediate
humanitarian priorities are and what resources we need to mobilize to provide support.
Our team in the UK will continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Irma as well as Hurricane Jose which has the capacity to cause a devastating secondary impact.”