Military called in to help with Storm Arwen aftermath in Scotland

Military personnel have been called in to help with the response to Storm Arwen in the Grampian region of Scotland.

Following an urgent request for assistance, 134 personnel will deploy to check on vulnerable people in their homes.

Personnel will also conduct door-to-door checks on more than 4,000 homes, provide welfare and humanitarian support for remote communities and are on standby to deliver further support and vital supplies if needed.

Teams of 10 will deploy to remote communities across the region who have been impacted by the loss of power and water following the storm, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.

Those deployed will come from units based in Scotland, including 39 Engineer Regiment, 3 Scots and 45 Commando.

They will deploy to areas including Aboyne, Alford, Banchory, Banff, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff and Westhill.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "We are always ready to provide extra support to civil authorities across the UK in their time of need and it’s great to see units based in Scotland supporting their local communities."

It comes as rain, sleet and snow fell in south-western parts of the UK on Thursday, while wintry showers have affected the North and East.

Thousands of people are still without power following "extensive and catastrophic damage" caused by Storm Arwen, as snow appeared overnight in some parts of the UK.  

Watch: COVID-19 - Is there a 'stigma' around military assistance?

Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) said in its latest update that as of noon on Thursday, 3,100 customers remain off supply, while more than 125,000 have had power restored.

Aberdeenshire is the main area affected, with 2,400 customers waiting to be reconnected there and in Aberdeen.

There are also around 300 still without power in Angus, around 200 each in Moray and Perthshire and some 25 in Stirlingshire.

SSEN said it aims to restore power to the vast majority of homes still affected by Friday, subject to no new damage being identified or unforeseen challenges.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said there are also vehicles and boats "available to get to communities that have been cut off for a while". 

"Whatever local authorities ask of us, we'll do our best to resource, providing that we've got the ability and the equipment to do so." 

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