On 11 September a Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules transport aircraft delivered a team of Royal Marines and medics to the Turks & Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory that has been stricken by Hurricanes Irma and Jose. The C-130J was the first military aircraft to arrive in the Turks & Caicos Islands; it joins a fleet of RAF transport aircraft and nearly 700 military and specialist civilian personnel supporting the Department for International Aid (DfID) with the delivery of humanitarian aid and disaster relief to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.
Since 8 September the Royal Air Force has flown more than 20 sorties within the Caribbean, moving more than 700 passengers into and around the region and delivering more than 70 tonnes of freight to hurricane-stricken communities. This has included:
- More than 20 Royal Marines from C Company, 40 Commando, who have deployed to support Her Majesty’s Governor of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
- More than 200 Royal Marines from 40 Commando and 3 Commando Brigade, who are supporting DfID’s urgent humanitarian work in the British Virgin Islands.
- Sixteen officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, who are supporting the British Virgin Islands with policing.
- More than 50 officers from the UK’s International Police Response Cadre, who will be sworn in as British Virgin Island police officers to support the territory with community and public order policing.
- Water filtration equipment and search and rescue kits for UK NGOs Serve On and Team Rubicon.
Royal Air Force aircraft operating in the Caribbean are managed by 38 Expeditionary Air Wing (38 EAW), based at a logistics hub in Barbados. The EAW is supported by elements of the RAF’s Air Mobility fleet comprising C-17 strategic lift aircraft, A400M Atlas and C-130J Hercules transport aircraft and Voyager passenger aircraft. More than 90 regular and reserve RAF personnel are assigned to 38 EAW, including logisticians, RAF Police, administrative staff, engineers and operations personnel, principally from RAF Brize Norton and RAF Northolt.
The Commanding Officer of 38 EAW, Wing Commander Gareth Burdett, said:
“The arrival of the C-130J provides us with an incredibly flexible asset, able to deploy freight and passengers into some extremely challenging environments to help our Overseas Territories get back on their feet. The pace of work here in the Caribbean is relentless, but we all know that people across the region are depending upon us. We’re working closely with our colleagues in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and DfID to make sure UK Aid makes a difference whenever and wherever it is needed.”
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