Royal Navy RFA Mounts Bay Bahamas Hurricane Dorian (Crown Copyright, 2019) [news] [880]

Royal Navy Takes On Hurricane Dorian

RFA Mounts Bay in Bahamas for Humanitarian Deployment

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Mounts Bay has delivered essential aid to residents of Great Abaco in The Bahamas. The ship has distributed Department for International Development (DFID) relief items, including vital shelter kits.

A rigid-hulled inflatable boat was deployed from RFA Mounts Bay, Wednesday, with a dedicated Humanitarian and Disaster Relief team to join up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and unload vital aid to some of those who have been worst hit by the category five storm.

RFA Mounts Bay has been in the Caribbean since June in preparation for the hurricane season and was re-tasked last week to sail to The Bahamas in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest ever recorded in The Bahamas.

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian is a tropical cyclone and first major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. Dorian developed from a tropical wave on August 24 in the Central Atlantic.

From August 26 to August 28, Hurricane Dorian affected the Caribbean nations and territories devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Damaging winds primarily affected the Virgin Islands where gusts reached 111 mph (179 km/h). Elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles, the effect of the storm was relatively minor.

After moving over the Bahamas, Dorian slowed its forward motion, remaining essentially stationary over the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island from September 1 to September 3. Dorian’s 185 mph (295 km/h) sustained winds at landfall ties it with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane as the strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricane, measured by sustained winds. Heavy rainfall, high winds and storm surge has caused catastrophic damage in the Bahamas, with thousands of homes destroyed and at least 30 deaths recorded. Property damages have been estimated at $7 billion.

Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Team

RFA Mounts Bay has embarked a dedicated Humanitarian and Disaster Relief team, and is carrying vital aid and specialist equipment, such as all-terrain quads, dump trucks, diggers and stores. It also stores DFID water carriers, hygiene kits including basic items such as soap, and shelter kits. Since Hurricane Dorian hit, a liaison officer from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a DFID humanitarian expert have been onboard to help co-ordinate the relief efforts.

RFA Mounts Bay also has a Wildcat helicopter that has been conducting reconnaissance flights over the islands to assess the damage and provide important intelligence to the Bahamian government and the team of DFID experts who have deployed to the region.

DFID’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.

Wildcat Rescues Trapped Briton

The Royal Navy Wildcat deployed with RFA Mounts Bay in the Caribbean rescued a British citizen who had been trapped beneath rubble for several days on Great Abaco Island.

The successful search and rescue mission took place Wednesday. The individual was removed from the rubble and brought back to RFA Mounts Bay to be treated by the team of Royal Navy medics onboard and was provided with emergency medication before being airlifted to the capital, Nassau. The Wildcat also conducted a casualty evacuation of an American woman, her two children and a baby to Nassau.

Wildcat pilot Lieutenant Lee Holborn said:

We are tasked to provide reconnaissance and assistance where necessary and it is always rewarding to know that you have made a significant difference, not only to the wider island, but to the individual families of those affected.

Surgeon Lieutenant Rebecca Miles said:

The patients were in a poorly condition and required immediate medical care. It was hugely rewarding to utilise my training and skills to provide essential and immediate lifesaving care to this family.

RFA Mounts Bay Commanding Officer, Captain Rob Anders added:

The wildcat has proven time and again its vital importance in support of our mission, be it the delivery of essential relief ashore, conducting reconnaissance or undertaking lifesaving search and rescue tasks.

The RFA Mounts Bay crew have so far delivered shelter kits, ration packs and water. The Wildcat will also be airlifting relief to outlying, cut off communities in liaison with the Royal Bahamian Defence Force.

The ship has been in the Caribbean since June in preparation for the hurricane season and was re-tasked last week to sail to The Bahamas in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest ever recorded in The Bahamas.

RFA Mounts Bay has embarked a dedicated Humanitarian and Disaster Relief team, and is carrying vital aid and specialist equipment. It also stores Department for International Development water carriers, hygiene kits including basic items such as soap, and shelter kits. Since Hurricane Dorian hit, a liaison officer from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a DFID humanitarian expert have been onboard to help co-ordinate the relief efforts.


Source: MOD

Image: Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) team embarked on RFA Mounts Bay deliver emergency aid to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Photograph by LPhot Halliwell (Crown Copyright, 2019).