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Mounts Bay helps Anguillans get ready for ‘another bad blow’ from Nature

5 July 2018
Another day, another Caribbean idyll for RFA Mounts Bay as the hard-working amphibious ship helps Britons prepare for the worst Nature can hurl at them.

The British Overseas Territory of Anguilla became the latest island to receive a visit from the auxiliary in preparation for the 2018 hurricane season.

Having already delivered aid and taken part in practice exercises with authorities in the Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands, Mounts made the 100-mile journey to Anguilla.

The island – the size of Blackburn but with one tenth the number of inhabitants (just 14,700) – was battered horribly by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last autumn.

Irma taught us all the hard lesson that no amount of preparation can truly prepare you for a beast like that

Governor Tim Foy

Back then teams from the auxiliary patched up the island’s hospital in time for a woman to give birth.

Nine months later and the Princess Alexandra Hospital still bares the scars of last autumn’s battering, which is where Mounts Bay’s medical team   came in handy.

PO(MT) Glenn Long, Medical Officer Lt Fiona Sweeney and Med Tech Victoria McCartney rolled up their sleeves, grabbed rollers and helped re-paint the building as well as restored fencing.

Meanwhile, the Mexeflote powered barge was used to deliver goods from the ship’s huge cargo bay – vehicles and aid – so that they’re already in position should a hurricane strike this season.

Governor Tim Foy said since last autumn’s storm season, islanders had pulled together to restore services, rebuild their lives and properties and take steps to be better prepared “if Nature deals us another bad blow.”

He continued: “Irma taught us all the hard lesson that no amount of preparation can truly prepare you for a beast like that. But that said, I was impressed and reassured by what I saw and learnt – nobody is trusting to luck.”

The same goes for the team on Mounts Bay. Her Wildcat helicopter from 815 NAS flew reconnaissance missions over the island to get a feel for Anguilla and locations she might use in the event of a disaster.

And the communications specialists tested their kit so that can seamlessly connect with the island’s emergency services and disaster command and control centre.

Mounts Bay has been in the Caribbean for just over a year and will remain on station until 2020, spending the summer and autumn with her specialist teams waiting to respond to storms, and the rest of the year supporting British territories and joining in the international struggle against drug smuggling from South and Central to North America.

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