Friday, 8 September 2017

UK steps up relief effort in response to Hurricane Irma

The UK is stepping up its relief effort in response to Hurricane Irma, with the first of three RAF aid flights on its way to the Caribbean.

The military transport plane is carrying about 50 troops as well as aid, including shelter kits.

A Royal Navy landing ship is also due to arrive later in the British Virgin Islands, where a state of emergency has been declared.

The UK government has been accused of responding too slowly to the hurricane.

The British Virgin Islands' governor, Gus Jaspert, has asked the UK for help, amid reports of widespread devastation, with fatalities reported.
One resident said the hurricane, which hit on Wednesday, was "terrifying" and had left "total devastation".

The UK has almost tripled the relief fund for British overseas territories to £32m amid criticism of its response.

Irma passed over the British overseas territories of Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on Wednesday night - and went on to batter another, the Turks and Caicos islands further north on Thursday evening.

The BVI is a collection of 40 islands and islets with a population of more than 30,000 - Tortola is one of the largest, home to more than three quarters of the population.

Prime Minister Theresa May is due to chair a meeting of the government's emergency response Cobra committee later, where she will get the latest information on the hurricane.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, she said there would be two phases of the UK's relief operation - the immediate response, and longer term reconstruction.

She said the hurricane had been "absolutely devastating".

"We want to do everything we can and will do everything we can to support people, but also to help them rebuild."

BBC    News.

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