Secretary of State, Damian Green, chaired a COBR meeting to discuss the Government’s response to Hurricane Irma and preparations for Hurricane Maria.

FCO, DFID and military teams are working closely with the Governors in the Overseas Territories to ensure we are doing all we can to support the Governments of the islands affected.

Ministers discussed the preparations that have been put in place:

  • Over 1300 military troops are staying put in the region – either on the islands already affected or in locations from where they will be able to readily deploy once Maria has passed.
  • An additional 42 strong military resilience team has been deployed forward to British Virgin Islands prior to Hurricane Maria ready to support additional needs there.
  • A military reconnaissance team has been put on standby to go to Montserrat to assess need if it is hit by Hurricane Maria.
  • DFID has established logistics hubs in the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Antigua & Barbuda to ensure swift supply of relief items if required and is procuring additional supplies from Miami and Panama.
  • HMs Ocean, which is due to arrive in the region at the end of the week, with 60 tonnes of DFID supplies on board will be deployed according to need once Hurricane Maria has passed.
  • On the basis of the latest weather forecast, we are advising against all but essential travel to Montserrat and Anguilla and against all travel to the British Virgin Islands.
  • All those in the region are urged to follow the advice of the local authorities.

To date, the UK government has allocated £57 million to the immediate response effort and agreed to match up to £3 million of public donations to the Red Cross appeal.

75 tonnes of DFID relief items have either arrived or been procured in the region including much needed food, water, nearly 3,000 shelter kits, 5,000 hygiene kits and 10,000 buckets.

40 tonnes of humanitarian aid has been distributed including over 4 tonnes of food and water on the British Virgin Islands; 720 litres of water to the Turks and Caicos Islands; and over 2 tonnes of building materials to Anguilla.



  1. Glad to see some of our Foreign aid being spent wisely for once.

    I would also suggest that we send some container homes for people to live in and to provide more resilience for the future. A couple of 40ft containers kitted out properly can provide a very nice home for anyone and I am sure British industry could start producing them if the Foreign aid budget assigned funds to build. £1bn p.a. of DFID funding would resolve many issues in the countries we are looking to help providing a safe place to live with sustainable (solar) energy and water filtration built in. It would also benefit UK industry to have this contract and build 20,000 units pa+

    Great effort by all involved – surely dedicated hospital and humanitarian ships funded by DFID and run by the RFA need to be agreed – 4 Karel Doorman type ships would do the job as floating hospital and supply vessels, supplying humanitarian aid year round.

    If we are going to spend £11bn pa then lets make sure its sustainable and is actual aid.

    • This money isn’t coming out if the Foreign Aid budget. The OECD says our territories in the Caribbean are too well off for Aid and the UK Foreign Aid law requires us to follow the OECD definitions.

  2. A typical Treasury ploy – they will search heaven and earth to find an excuse not to spend. I know we are supposedly broke, but using some of the foreign budget would surely be possible. I’d rather it went to some worthwhile cause rather than lining the pocket of some corrupt foreign politician or businessman.

    The question regarding what would make the best multi-role type of Humanitarian/Hospital ship.

    For me, I think there would be a better argument for a a Mistral type of “Through Deck” ship, as this would give better flexibility especially with helicopter Ops. My reason for this is that whilst the Karel Doorman has been built to operate Chinook from the deck. The relatively small size of the deck will become a major headache when the Chinook requires maintenance (Blades fitted it has a footprint of 60ft by 100ft). This will heavily restict not only the helicopter Operations but also hamper the time allowed for maintenance. Therefore having a through deck will still allow helicopter Ops but will also allow maintenance.
    I believe a submersible Well Deck must also be a given, that can contain Air Cushion Vehicles/LCTs etc, a lot safer than Mexifloats. As well as being a humanitarian aid/hospital ship it could be used for amphibious Ops.
    Food for thought…


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