Press release: Hurricane Irma: UK government actions update, 10 September 2017

  • RFA Mounts Bay, our first military response, patrols Caribbean waters for 6 months of the year during the Hurricane season (June to November). Its crew are in a high state of readiness to be able to swiftly provide humanitarian and disaster relief, which they have already delivered to Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.  
  • The Prime Minister announced a £32 million relief fund to support the humanitarian effort and the UK was the first country to arrive on the scene. In addition to this, the UK government is also doubling all public donations made to the British Red Cross appeal.  
  • A team of British humanitarian experts has been in the region for a week working with authorities and directing the humanitarian response.

  • In Anguilla, RFA Mounts Bay has:
    • delivered 6 tonnes of emergency aid
    • rebuilt and secured the Emergency Operations Centre
    • restored power to the hospital
    • reinforced shelters
    • cleared the runway at the airport (which is now serviceable)
    • cleared roads, including to the police station
    • provided further support in the British Virgin Islands  
  • HMS Ocean is also being deployed and will help with the reconstruction after the hurricane. Additional UK government staff are on standby to provide assistance once the hurricane has passed.

  • There are just under 500 troops currently in the region, made up of marines, engineers, medics and specialists, including Army and RAF personnel.

  • A C17, Voyager and A400M aircraft carried over 200 Royal Marines, as well as engineers and specialist personnel from all 3 Services. They have provided medical supplies and aid including 2.2 tonnes of UK aid shelter kits providing shelter for almost 1,000 people, rations and clean water. A total of 10,000 UK aid buckets and 5,000 solar lanterns have been dispatched.

  • Amongst those deployed were the 40 Commando Royal Marines and the 3 Commando Brigadiers, 8 DFID humanitarian experts, 10 FCO Rapid Deployment staff as well as humanitarian experts funded by UK aid.

  • Two members of the UK police cadre, who offer support to the military in times of international crisis, flew out on Friday and a further 53 British officers, from 14 police forces are due to fly out on Sunday.  
  • Our Ambassador to the US has deployed teams of staff at airports in the affected areas of the USA. They are providing advice and support to British nationals in Florida and issuing emergency travel documents.

  • Our US Network is liaising closely with the US authorities to get British nationals to safety.

  • The Foreign Office has set up a hotline for those concerned about friends and relatives affected by the hurricane: +44 (0)20 7008 0000.  At their request, we are taking all emergency calls for the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands on this number.
  • We continue to work flat out to help the people who have suffered so much in the Caribbean, particularly of course in our overseas territories, in Anguilla, in the Turks and Caicos, and above all in the British Virgin Islands where there’s been massive devastation. We’re following the path of Storm Jose now, we’re sending 500 troops, they’re already in the region, huge amount of supplies, all sorts of efforts to get fuel into the region, to get power generation started again to help with sanitation, getting the hospitals going and everything that you would expect from the UK government to support British people overseas.

    And I just want to say to everybody watching this, if you want to give, if you want to support those who have suffered in the terrible disasters of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose, then we recommend giving to the Red Cross, and we in the UK government will match you pound for pound.

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