Navy ship delivering aid to hurricane-hit communities in Bahamas
By Ben Mitchell, PA
The Royal Navy has launched operations to deliver aid to communities hit by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
A Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship has been deployed to work alongside the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to help deliver shelter kits, water and other essentials to the island of Great Abaco.
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 Coast Guard 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."
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."
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 lifesaving 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 onboard."