RFA Argus broke off from drug-busting duties in the Caribbean to deliver disaster relief aid to Jamaicans so they can repair more than 70 schools damaged by Superstorm Sandy last month.
Although the local authorities dealt with the immediate aftermath of the storm, Argus carries also supplies which can help with the longer-term rebuilding process – so she delivered them to Kingston.
More than six dozen schools will be rebuilt or repaired in Jamaica thanks to the efforts of RFA Argus, which delivered aid to the Caribbean island in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Whilst the Jamaican authorities dealt with the immediate aftermath of the storm, which barrelled through the Caribbean and up the Eastern Seaboard of the USA one month ago causing biblical devastation in places, Argus was asked to help with the longer-term repair and rebuilding process.
Although on drug-busting duties in the region, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship – which provides helicopter training for the Navy and has a state-of-the-art casualty treatment centre aboard – also carries a specialist disaster relief team and extensive stores to deal with damage caused by a hurricane.
It was these stores that were requested by Jamaican authorities via the British High Commission on the island and the Department for International Development.
Argus broke off from her counter-narcotics work and made best speed for the capital Kingston, where her crew offloaded 200 emergency shelter kits, consisting of tarpaulin and securing mechanisms.
The kits will allow buildings to be made weather-proof – which means pupils can return to the affected schools and also that more permanent repairs can be carried out.
The offload was completed quickly and efficiently, utilising a team of sailors from both the RFA and the RN. Both teams of individuals have been training and working hard together throughout the season to ensure they remain at a high state of readiness to assist in any situation.
The kits are now being distributed by Jamaica’s emergency department, OPDEM, among the nine parishes and to the 73 schools affected.
Once all stores were put ashore, Argus once again sailed to continue her patrol through the Caribbean. With a week left to run of the official hurricane season she and her crew remain poised to respond if required.
Argus is due back in the UK in mid December after a seven-and-a-half-month deployment. Her patrol in the Caribbean will be handed over to the RFA Wave Knight, to maintain a year round British presence in the region.
Naval Today Staff, November 28, 2012; Image: Royal Navy