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RFA Lyme Bay has arrived in Dominica to begin immediate humanitarian relief efforts following the devastation left behind by Tropical Storm Erika.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel is carrying a range of disaster relief stores including bedding, shelter, torches and stretchers, as well as a Lynx Mk 8 helicopter and considerable supplies of fresh water.

The Bay Class displace 16,100 tonnes and compared to their predecessors they carry more than twice as many vehicles and embarked troops. Using their stern dock for landing craft and flight deck for helicopters, they are able to offload in rougher weather twice as quickly. The flight deck can accommodate two Merlin or Chinook helicopters. The Bay Class are designed to operate over the horizon using helicopters and landing craft through a floodable stern dock to get men and equipment ashore.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“It is clear that the impact of Tropical Storm Erika on the people of Dominica has been severe. With many deaths already confirmed and hundreds of people who have been left homeless, it is right that Britain offers help.

RFA Lyme Bay is well placed to provide important, immediate assistance to Dominica in order to ease suffering and to assist the population in beginning to rebuild their lives.”

A Royal Logistic Corps craft lands Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) Troop ashore. (OGL)
A Royal Logistic Corps craft (composed of Mexeflote) lands the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) Troop ashore. (OGL)

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

“It is clear that Dominica has borne the brunt of this storm, with a number of deaths already confirmed and hundreds of people made homeless. Roads, bridges and health clinics have been affected and large parts of the island are without water and electricity.

Part of RFA Lyme Bay’s tasking is to respond to just this sort of emergency and the ship is already en route to assist with relief efforts. As well as essential supplies and helicopter support, the ship can also provide vital expertise to help clean-up operations and recovery efforts.”

Last month RFA Lyme Bay helped rescue a fisherman who was drifting out to sea. During a visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands, the ‘Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief’ team of RFA Lyme Bay went ashore to demonstrate the capability of the Combat Support Boat when they spotted the fisherman, who was unable to start his engine. The small vessel was then towed to shore.

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