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Hurricane Dorian: Navy And Army Deployed As RFA Mounts Bay Delivers Aid In Bahamas

RFA Mounts Bay has started landing personnel and emergency relief aid on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas.

Listen: Bahamas situation 'quite catastrophic' after Hurricane Dorian, RFA Mounts Bay's CO told Forces News on Wednesday.

RFA Mounts Bay has begun landing personnel and emergency relief aid on some of the worst-hit islands in the Bahamas.

The ship has just started the operation on the Abaco Islands, following a call for help from the Bahamas authorities.

Mounts Bay had been in the Caribbean since June in preparation for the hurricane season.

"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," said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

Mr Wallace also added that the UK's "world-class military will continue to assist the Bahamas Government to offer relief and aid to those who need it most".

Mounts Bay's Wildcat helicopter and Royal Navy personnel are evacuating casualties, while Royal Engineers and Royal Fleet Auxillary have gone ashore.

Members of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC have also been on board Mounts Bay preparing food and water to be transported to Abaco Island.

Captain Rob Anders, the Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay told Forces News on Wednesday Mounts Bay was based eight miles east of Marsh Harbour.

"Currently we have just sent the first reconnaissance team ashore, and now have just dispatched the first two boatloads of aid," he said.

The aid being given to people on Abaco includes water and shelter boxes.

Capt Anders went on to say the state of the islands was "quite catastrophic in some areas".

A change in the weather conditions saw Hurricane Dorian moving away from the Bahamas, where RFA Mounts Bay has been stationed for the past few days ready to assist.

RFA Mounts Bay Wildcat airborne 040919 CREDIT RFA Mounts Bay.jpg
RFA Mounts Bay's Wildcat helicopter has deployed (Picture: RFA Mounts Bay/MOD).

Earlier on Wednesday, the first boats containing aid supplies were deployed to Marsh Harbour, a town in the Bahamas.

Previous to the deployment of the boats, it was announced via social media that "favourable weather conditions" had been found and the ship's Wildcat helicopter was airborne.

The helicopter carried out reconnaissance from the air and provided an initial damage assessment of the destruction left behind by the hurricane.

Hurricane Dorian, which was at first a Category 5 storm, is now ranked as Category 2 and is the strongest hurricane to hit the Atlantic since records began. 

Similar, albeit slower, hurricanes have been Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, and Ivan in 2004.

Bahamas island of Abaco post-Hurricane Dorian

The commanding officer of RFA Mounts Bay described the scene in the Abaco Islands as 'quite catastrophic' (Picture: MOD).

The view over the island of Abaco (Picture: MOD).

The International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent has called Hurricane Dorian a "major emergency".

According to an estimate released by the international federation, 99% of people on Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama will have to receive some form of emergency assistance.

As of Monday, it was reported that around 13,000 houses had already been damaged or destroyed across the Bahamas.

"The clock is now ticking to get help to those in need, and I am pleased that Mounts Bay has begun to deliver life-saving relief items to those in desperate need," said International Development Secretary Alok Sharma.