Operation RUMAN: British Armed Forces Rush to Aid Hurricane Irma Victims
RAF Flies Engineers and Marines to British Overseas Territories Hit by Hurricane
RAF Aircraft carrying British troops and humanitarian aid left RAF Brize Norton yesterday, September 7, to deliver disaster relief to areas devastated by Hurricane Irma, codenamed Operation RUMAN.
Food, water, medical equipment and other humanitarian supplies are being delivered to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean by RAF aircraft, a C17 and Voyager. Both flights will also carry Armed Forces personnel.
Numbering around 230, the troops are drawn from the Royal Marines and Royal Engineers and will form part of a military task group being deployed to the Caribbean.
Military Task Group Being Deployed to the Caribbean
As the category five storm continues to wreck havoc across the Caribbean, killing at least 13 people, the MOD has announced that the UK will send a military task group to support victims, thousands of whom have already been left homeless.
First on scene was the supply ship RFA Mounts Bay with 40 Royal Marines on board, as well as Army engineers and equipment.
Royal Navy’s Flagship, HMS Ocean, Diverted to Caribbean
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said, September 6:
In the face of such devastation, I have authorised the deployment of a task group to the region. Over the next 24 hours troops and engineers held at high readiness in the UK will deploy with helicopters to support the relief effort. I am also sending a command headquarters to co-ordinate our efforts. With the danger posed by Hurricane Jose which will hit areas already affected by the storms we are diverting a second ship to the Caribbean, our flagship HMS Ocean, to bring the help that will be needed in reconstruction after the hurricanes has passed.
Units involved include elements from the UK’s high-readiness reaction force, the 3rd (UK) Division, and 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group, a specialised, hybrid Army Regular and Reserves unit, recruiting qualified and student engineers.
3rd (United Kingdom) Division, based at the heart of the British Army on Salisbury Plain, is the only division at continual operational readiness in the UK. ‘The Iron Division’ is made up of 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade (Tidworth), 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade (Bulford Camp), 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade (Paderborn, Germany) and 101 Logistic Brigade (Aldershot).
Featured Image: British Army’s Iron Division, the 3rd (UK) Division, deploys on Op RUMAN to deliver humanitarian relief for victims of Hurricane Irma in British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean (Crown Copyright, 2017).