RFA Mounts Bay delivers vital aid to Caribbean

RFA Mounts Bay has delivered six tonnes of emergency aid to Anguilla.

The ship has been deployed in the Caribbean since July in preparation for the hurricane season.

Tasked by the Royal Navy, she was the UK’s first military response to the Caribbean.

The ship carries a specialist disaster relief team drawn from the Royal Engineers and Royal Logistics Corps. It also carries a heavy plant for lifting and shifting and emergency kit and shelters provided by the Department for International Development.

The Royal Navy’s Mobile Aviation Support Force, which includes aviation specialists, meteorological advisors and flight deck crews, are also on board.

Engineers were on hand to stop a fuel leak at Anguilla’s main petrol dump, restore power to the island’s sole hospital and hand out shelters providing temporary homes for people left homeless. They also cleared the runway which was declared safe for relief flights.

RFA Mounts Bay’s Wildcat helicopter also flew Governor Tim Foy on a flight over the island to survey the damage from the air during seven hours of flying.

Infrastructure, schools, government buildings and power supplies had all suffered widespread damage.

The ship’s focus was on supporting the police headquarters as the hub of the relief effort, get the hospital on its feet again, and reinforce two shelter station - particularly important with Hurricane José now barrelling towards the region.

RFA Mounts Bay is now making for the British Virgin Islands.

As part of a wider military effort, Britain’s flagship HMS Ocean has diverted from her NATO mission in the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to help with the reconstruction effort.

Meanwhile, three flights will shortly be departing RAF Brize Norton carrying Royal Marines, Engineers, medical supplies and aid including emergency shelter kits, rations and clean water.

Stephen Norris, Mounts Bay’s commanding officer, said: “My people worked tirelessly throughout the day with determination and flexibility to support the governor and the people of Anguilla.

“Although Anguilla suffered extensive damage, normal signs of life were returning - some roads open and the local population beginning a recovery and clear-up operation.”

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