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Boris Johnson on Irma: "We're doing everything we can"

ASSISTANCE: Foreign Secretary has reassured readers of The Voice that the UK Government is stepping in to help; below, military personnel arrive in the region

FOR MANY readers of The Voice, the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma across the Caribbean and beyond is deeply personal.

May will be worried by the suffering of family and friends and the hardships that lie ahead. So I want to explain what the British Government is doing to help those in need – particularly in our Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos, and the British Virgin Islands – where the UK has a special duty to help.

Back in July, we sent RFA Mounts Bay, a 16,000-ton naval supply ship, to the Caribbean so that it would be ready to help with any emer- gency during the Hurricane season.


As soon as Irma had passed by, the skilled men and women on board the ship went straight to help Anguilla. They managed to restore power at Anguilla's hospital, rebuild the emergency operations centre, clear the runway and get the island's airport up and running.

Then RFA Mounts Bay went to help the British Virgin Islands. By now, we’ve sent 700 British military personnel to the Caribbean, including engineers, medics and other specialists.


They are delivering fuel, restoring power supplies and reopening hospitals. And I flew to the Caribbean myself on Tuesday to check that everything was going to plan. I know there have been disturbing reports of lawlessness and looting, so we’ve deployed 50 police officers to help the local security to guarantee law and order.

Within 24 hours of the hurricane causing such devastation, the Prime Minister announced £32 million to help those affected. And, if you want to donate as well, the Government will match every pound that you contribute to the Red Cross Hurricane Irma appeal, up to a maximum of £3 million.

But all of us should be humble in the face of the power of nature. Whatever we do and whatever relief we provide will not be enough for many in the Caribbean who have lost so much. And we know their ordeal is not over. That is why the Government has ordered the biggest ship in the Royal Navy, HMS Ocean, to leave the Mediterranean and steam over the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

I want to assure readers of The Voice that, at this moment, hundreds of British public servants, civilian and military, are working flat out. We will not relent in our efforts to get help to those who need it.

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