Montserrat’s storm preparedness was tested this week with the passing of Tropical Storm Isaac.
Thankfully the storm which at one point had reached a category one level diminished significantly before reaching the island on Thursday.
Members of the UK’s Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) along with officials from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay were on island prior to and during the arrival of Isaac. Mounts Bay was stationed in Antigua to be able to deploy quickly to any of the neighbouring islands which might have needed assistance.
The joint team from various armed forces were on hand to test the readiness of the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) which is operated by the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA). They also assisted His Excellency Governor Andy Pearce with communications equipment and reviewed operational procedures.
“We are delighted to welcome this small team from the Armed Forces as we make our final preparations for the approaching storm. I am also particularly reassured that if we need her, RFA Mounts Bay is ready to respond,” Governor was quoted as saying in an official UK release.
Captain Jonathan Cooke of 24 Commando Royal Engineers (24 Cdo RE) OC HADR Troop said prior to Isaac “Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Troop onboard RFA Mounts Bay is ready to assist residents on Montserrat. We have previously deployed to the island both in July and on Operation RUMAN last year and have gained a good understanding of the current status of the island and infrastructure in order to best support the island if required.”
Below are images from the twitter feed of Brigadier John Ridge, who is Chief of the JFHQ in the Caribbean, of their deployment across the OTs in readiness for storms.
The UK stepped up its visibility following the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Eastern Caribbean in September 2017, after being chastised for its lackluster support to assist the islands under its purview immediately after the storms.
The RFA Mounts Bay is now scheduled to remain in the Caribbean until 2020.
— John Ridge (@JohnHRidge) September 12, 2018
— BrigJohnRidge (@BrigJohnRidge) September 12, 2018
— John Ridge (@JohnHRidge) September 13, 2018