RAF Puma helicopter British Virgin Islands

Foreign Secretary Welcomes Extra Funding For Irma Relief Effort

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has welcomed the commitment of an extra £25 million to help British Overseas Territories affected by...

RAF Puma helicopter British Virgin Islands

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has welcomed the commitment of an extra £25 million to help British Overseas Territories affected by Hurricane Irma, calling it "great news".

On a visit of Anguilla, he saw first-hand the damage caused to the island and said: "You can't be but affected by the scale of devastation the people of Anguilla have endured."

Mr Johnson visited Anguilla's Princess Alexandra Hospital, which suffered 60% damage as Hurricane Irma unleashed devastation, something he said was "pitiful" to witness.

RAF Medics Princess Alexandra Hospital, Anguilla

As Royal Marines and Royal Engineers arrived at the hospital to help with repairs, Mr Johnson said to them: "They need you badly in there."

He told the Press Association: "I am very pleased that since very early on, since Friday, we have had troops here and they helped to get things going. And here they are coming in again today to help to rebuild, this is going to be a big job."

RAF Medics Princess Alexandra Hospital, Anguilla

Earlier, the Foreign Secretary announced that the British military presence is "really ratcheting up" in the Caribbean, as more troops being sent to help communities devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Boris Johnson said his visit is a "very important statement" by the Government to show it is "here for UK nationals" and is a "sign of our absolute commitment to them".

"There were about 700 troops in the region that has now gone up to 1,000. It will go up to 1,250 in the course of the next few days."

Mr Johnson will now be visiting the British Virgin Islands, where he will meet officials leading the recovery effort and witness the devastation of the worst-hit areas first-hand.

HMS Ocean Departs Gibraltar

The Royal Navy's fleet flagship, HMS Ocean, has set now sail for the Caribbean loaded with long term emergency supplies for British territories devastated by the storm.

HMS Ocean left Gibraltar on Tuesday night stacked with more than "200 pallets of aid" including timber, buckets, bottled water, food, baby milk, bedding and clothing.

HMS Ocean Aid Gibraltar

The Royal Navy also stated that the ship will be bringing pickup trucks donated by the Gibraltar government.

The Government has so far faced a great deal of backlash suggesting that they did not do enough to evacuate its citizens from the Islands.

HMS Ocean Vehicles Gibraltar

Mr Johnson said:

"Most fair-minded people have said that the UK responded extremely fast and extremely well."

"We had RFA Mounts Bay in position in the region before the hurricane struck - it would have been totally absurd to bring troops in or bring heavy aircraft during the storm itself."