UK aid and military support sent to Central America in wake of Hurricane Eta

RFA Argus

The UK is providing vital humanitarian support to countries in Central America following Hurricane Eta, which has caused widespread destruction across the region.

The category 4 hurricane has caused severe damage to some of the most vulnerable communities in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala as well as parts of Belize, El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. More than 2 million people have been affected with initial reports indicating that over 100 people have lost their lives. People across the region have had to evacuate their homes.

In response, the UK is deploying Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ship Argus to help the US military’s relief operations in Honduras. She will offer logistical support so the US can access and deliver supplies to the people most in need.

Merlin helicopters of 845 Commando Helicopter Force, carrying out flying serials from the flight deck of RFA Argus. 845 Commando Helicopter Force is currently attached to RFA Argus for Op Broadshare and will carry out hurricane relief if the time arises. RFA Argus is a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It has a 100-bed medical complex on board. She acts as a floating medical facility, and is currently in the Caribbean on Operation Broadshare.

The UK’s wider humanitarian response to Hurricane Eta will be through urgent aid and partnerships with multilateral organisations and NGOs:

  • The UK is providing urgent relief supplies, including emergency shelter equipment, kitchen sets, and cleaning kits, which will be distributed by partners in the region.
  • The Start Fund, through UK aid funding, will help NGOs in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, including Save the Children, Trocaire and Christian Aid to provide food, water and sanitation to those affected.
  • The UK-funded NGO MapAction, which specialises in providing mapping for humanitarian emergencies, is providing remote assistance to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) Regional Office in the Central Americas.

Minister for the Americas, Wendy Morton said:

Hurricane Eta has devastated parts of Central America and my thoughts are with all those who have lost their homes and loved ones.

UK support will help the most vulnerable by making sure they can access the food, water and shelter they need.

RFA Argus is deployed to the Caribbean region as part of a persistent maritime presence that includes providing a contingency to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief responses during the hurricane season.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

The UK is always ready to assist our friends and allies at times of great need. Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus will support the relief effort, working alongside the US, in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Eta.

The view of RFA Argus from a Merlin Helicopter from 845 Commando Helicopter Force. The crew will work alongside local emergency services re-establishing law and order, restoring water and power, repairing buildings like hospitals and schools, reopening airstrips and roads.

Photo credit: LPhot Joe Cater. UK MOD


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