Royal Navy flies crucial sorties into Honduras after hurricane devastation
Severe flooding and landslides following the two catastrophic storms have left millions of Hondurans displaced and isolated without food and clean water.
The Royal Navy recently deployed RFA Argus to the north east coast of the Central American nation to support the United States military in the ongoing disaster relief efforts.
The support ship is being used as a ‘lily pad’ by US Army Chinooks to drop aid supplies ashore, while the embarked air group of three Merlin helicopters and a Wildcat have been flying crucial information-gathering sorties over ravaged areas.
Pilots and aircrew from 845 and 815 Naval Air Squadrons are conducting reconnaissance flights, using their helicopters’ powerful sensors and specialist equipment to collect information.
Information collected is proving essential in building a clearer picture on the ground and helping decisions made by US Southern Command and Joint Task Force Bravo – who are coordinating operations on where best to drop essential aid.
Commander Kate Muir, in command of the UK Task Group in the Caribbean, said: “RFA Argus and embarked Royal Navy personnel are supporting US helicopters and conducting aerial surveys of hurricane damage.
“This allows prioritisation of emergency relief stores to the areas that need it most, usually remote areas that have been cut off by flooding and landslides.
“The information we are providing is proving essential to relief operations, and they are critical to responding quickly to help the people of Honduras.”
Along with the array of reconnaissance kit aboard the Merlins and Wildcat, Crisis Response Troop from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines have been using a tool called a Disaster Relief Operation Position Logger, or ‘DROP Logger’, to aid ongoing efforts. ■