The Royal Navy has begun to deliver aid to the Bahamas after it was hit by a category five hurricane.
Hurricane Dorian has wreaked devastation on the country after making landfall in Elbow Cay on September 1.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Mounts Bay has been tasked with delivering essential aid to people living in the Bahamas who have been affected by the disaster.
The Royal Navy amphibious support vessel has given support to Great Abaco, delivering shelter kits, water and other basic items.
A sea boat was deployed from Mounts Bay, which has been in the Caribbean since 2016, with a humanitarian and disaster relief team to join up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to unload aid to those worst hit by Hurricane Dorian.
Captain Rob Anders, Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, said: ‘RFA Mounts Bay has been working alongside The Bahamian National Emergency and Management Agency and US Coastguard personnel, using our Wildcat helicopter to conduct initial assessments on Abaco Island and we have landed reconnaissance troops ashore.
‘I am pleased to be able to use our people and equipment to send water and food ashore to provide aid to the Bahamian people.
‘We hope that our presence in the area in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian will provide some peace of mind and reassurance to all those affected.’
RFA Mounts Bay was on stand-by in the Caribbean in preparation for hurricane season. As well as the humanitarian and disaster relief team, the ship is carrying vital aid and also has all-terrain quads, dump trucks, diggers and stores on board.
Its Wildcat helicopter has been conducting reconnaissance flights to assess damage, feeding that information back to the ship.
Since Hurricane Dorian hit, a liaison officer from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a Department for International Development humanitarian expert have been on board to help co-ordinate the relief efforts.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘The highly skilled crew and specialist equipment of RFA Mounts Bay have been on call since June to support our overseas territories and friends in the hurricane season.
‘Its Wildcat helicopter has begun conducting reconnaissance flights of The Bahamas to help assess the damage and the crew have begun distributing UK aid. My thoughts remain with those affected and our world-class military will continue to assist the Bahamas Government to offer relief and aid to those who need it most.’
The Department for International Development’s team is working alongside The Bahamas Government’s National Emergency Management Agency and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, as well as other international partners, to assess the damage caused by the hurricane, and to plan the response.
International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said: ‘The images of devastation and destruction across The Bahamas are truly shocking. The clock is now ticking to get help to those in need, and I’m pleased that Mounts Bay has begun to deliver life-saving relief items to those in desperate need.
‘Sadly, we know all too well that hurricane season in the Caribbean can wreak this level of catastrophe, which is why we sent a team of DFID humanitarian experts and prepositioned water carriers, hygiene kits and shelter kits on-board.’