UK aid experts, military assets and relief supplies are already in the region and ‘ready to respond’ to Hurricane Maria say the MoD.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:
“We are under no illusions about the possible impact of Hurricane Maria and are taking every measure possible to prepare communities which have already been devastated by Hurricane Irma.
British troops, police and aid experts are working relentlessly to get help to the victims of Hurricane Irma. Those same individuals will now be tasked with also preparing for the impact of Maria, and to ensure support continues to get to those in need.”
Chris Austin, the Head of the UK’s Joint Task force, added:
“We are planning for the unexpected, we are planning for the worst. We need to demonstrate our own resilience because there is a real chance that Hurricane Maria may significantly impact on our existing efforts to provide relief.”
To date, 75 tonnes of relief items have either arrived or been procured in the region including much needed food, water, nearly 3000 shelter kits, 5,000 hygiene kits and 10,000 buckets.
A further 60 tonnes of aid and reconstruction materials is on the way to the region on HMS Ocean.
According to the MoD:
“The UK is also leading the way in the long-term reconstruction of islands hit by Hurricane Irma. Speaking at the 72nd session of the United Nations along with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Ms Patel will say that whilst relief effort will go on, plans are being put in place to help rebuild on the islands, more resiliently than in the past, so a future hurricane won’t be as devastating.”
UK aid is already having an impact on many of the victims including Dorothy, a victim of Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands, who said:
“I was so happy when the soldier told me yesterday that my house was the first house that was fixed. He said that they had given people things to fix their houses but my house was the first house that a soldier came and fixed. I said God I’m blessed.
I was the happiest person on earth because I was very sad because I had lost everything. With whatever people give me, or what I can get myself, I’ll fix up my place so it looks like somewhere I can live.”