Great Britain’s HMS Manchester helps hurricane victims in St Lucia
HMS Manchester arrived in St Lucia on 2 November to assist the St Lucian authorities in the emergency relief operation following the passage of Hurricane Tomas. The ship was deployed offshore at Soufriere where it was most needed. Following a helicopter reconnaissance team assessment, Medical, Light Rescue, Heavy Repair, Electricity Generation and Water Distribution Teams were then sent ashore.
While in St Lucia HMS Manchester provided the following assistance to the Soufriere community:
- Generator power was provided to the Soufriere gas station. This enabled the hospital to refuel and run its generator, and emergency vehicles to refuel.
- A 15-strong team was sent to Fond St Jacques, a village devastated by mud slides, during the evening of 2 November and provided hot meals, water, shelter, and generator power to approximately 200 stranded people. The team stayed with the community overnight to provide reassurance and at first light a search and rescue operation was conducted for missing residents.
- A smaller team was also sent to the remote village of Colombette on the evening of 2 Nov. They carried out a search operation at first light on 3 November, withdrawing when heavy excavation machinery arrived.
- Evacuations of vulnerable and injured persons were carried out.
- Casualties were treated, both ashore and onboard the ship.
- Repairs were carried out to the hospital roof, and the hospital laundry was cleared of mud.
- Water supplies were tendered from Manchester to Soufriere dock and distributed by members of Manchester‘s crew and the Red Cross.
- Assistance was provided to locate missing persons.
- Aerial reconnaissance was provided for the St Lucian Prime Minister, Hon. Stephenson King, in Manchester’s Lynx helicopter.
HMS Manchester left Soufriere at last light on 3 November to follow Hurricane Tomas to Jamaica, Haiti and Turks & Caicos. It left behind a generator at Fond St Jacques to enable continued power to this vulnerable community.
Commanding Officer of HMS Manchester, Commander Rex Cox said, “HMS Manchester’s Ship’s Company has put in a magnificent performance over the last 48 hours and I am extremely proud of each and every one of them. Their efforts ashore in St Lucia have made a clear and significant difference to the hurricane battered Island. It has been humbling and a privilege to help the people of St Lucia as they attempt to get back on their feet following this terrible tragedy”.
HMS Manchester’s supply ship, RFA Wave Ruler also visited St Lucia on 4 November, and delivered water purification tablets, as well as 150 tonnes of water.