Royal Navy Responds to Hurricane Damage in Turks and Caicos
The Royal Navy has been helping out with the recovery effort in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which were hit by Hurricane Fiona earlier last week. Two Royal Navy vessels are forward-deployed to the region this hurricane season, and their crews delivered potable water and helped with repairs after the hurricane passed through
The storm caused damage on the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, where flooding and winds hit critical infrastructure. The storm's wake left many islanders without electricity and drinking water.
The patrol ship HMS Medway and the oiler RFA Tideforce sailed for the Turks and Caicos, a British Overseas Territory, to offer assistance.
The two ships and an embarked team of Royal Marines provided drinking water to remote areas, repaired the generator for the local prison, and fixed the airport’s perimeter fence so that flights could restart.
HMS Medway – which is on a long-term presence mission in the Caribbean and is deployed to deliver disaster relief during the hurricane season – also called at the remote island of Salt Cay at the far southeastern tip of the archipelago. Salt Cay is the smallest inhabited island in the Turks and Caicos, with about 100 residents. Its water plant had gone out of service in the storm, and Medway delivered about 150 gallons of water for emergency supplies.
Medway then got under way for the Cayman Islands, which were facing the impact of Hurricane Ian, and handed off the tasks in the Turks and Caicos to the larger RFA Tideforce.
Since Saturday, Tideforce's helicopter has delivered more drinking water, the ship's technical team has helped out with electrical power issues on Grand Turk, and the helicopter aircrew has transported Turks and Caicos troops and their equipment to and from remote areas.
The islands' government is now focusing on long-term resilience. Infrastructure damage was relatively light, and the tourism-centric economy is on track to restart quickly. Airports have reopened, cruise ship calls are scheduled to resume this week, and the major resort operators on Grand Turk report that they have power and are already back in business.
“It’s been humbling to see up-close the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona, and we’re proud to have been able to help those affected,” said Commander Chris Hollingworth, Medway’s Commanding Officer. “We’re fully committed to our role providing critical aid and supporting Overseas Territories in their recovery throughout the hurricane season.”