Arbroath-based Royal Marine Commandos have been taking part in vital disaster relief training to help the Caribbean during hurricane season.
More than 200 Royal Marines from 45 Commando have been practising rescue skills, water purification and construction methods at their base at RM Condor in preparation for deployment as part of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR).
The essential training will prepare the marines to help island populations survive the aftermath of a hurricane and aid them in rebuilding their stricken communities.
Major Josh McCreton, Commanding Officer of Zulu Company, said: “Disaster relief training is part of 45 Commando’s operation preparations to ensure we are ready in all respects to provide aid and support to the people of the British Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth in the event of a major hurricane.
“The UK, and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, have world-leading HADR capabilities and experience. While we hope our skills aren’t needed, the vital training the team is undertaking means we can deploy overseas to help the Caribbean population at a moment’s notice.”
Working alongside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a plethora of non-government organisations, the marines are also on task to help distribute food and vital supplies to the local population.
As experts in amphibious operations, the Royal Marines can access hard-to-reach areas which may be otherwise cut off from storm damage.
Many of the Caribbean islands are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017, a Category 5 storm where winds reached more than 177mph and caused huge waves to rock the coastline, resulting in 47 deaths.
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines were heavily involved in the ensuing HADR mission Op RUMAN, where Royal Marines from 40 Commando were deployed alongside other Royal Navy assets.
Working together, the marines and the Navy were able to provide assistance to the Caribbean islands.
The effects of a hurricane in 2020 could be devastating for the Caribbean countries, many of which are reliant on tourism for their economy and are heavily impacted by Covid-19.