British military ship brings hurricane kits for Sandy-battered schools
BRITISH military ship RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) Argus pulled up in the Kingston Harbour yesterday with 200 shelter kits for schools affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The kits, which were handed over to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, were taken from the Department for International Development's (DFID) humanitarian stores that are kept aboard RFA vessels during the Atlantic hurricane season.
They will be distributed across nine parishes to a total of 73 schools that were badly affected by the passage of Hurricane Sandy on October 24 in response to a request from ODPEM. The kits containe tarpaulins, among other items.
Several schools, particularly in St Thomas, Portland and St Mary, were badly damaged during the passage of the category one storm.
Yesterday, Acting High Commissioner Julia Sutherland said she was happy with the swift response of the British Government.
"I am delighted that RFA Argus and DFID have been able to respond so swiftly to the request from ODPEM for this assistance. Helping students return to school as soon as possible is part of the British Government's commitment to supporting education," she said.
The 175-metre-long RFA Argus, with its 30-metre beam, is part of the Royal Navy's Atlantic Patrol Task (North) deployment. She has been in the Caribbean since May 2012, prior to the start of the June 1 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Her primary mission is humanitarian and disaster relief to the region.
Meanwhile, the DFID is one of several UK Government Departments represented in Kingston. Its work in Jamaica revolves around governance and security.
The department's work in Jamaica is part the DFID Caribbean Regional Development Strategy which focuses on supporting wealth creation, climate change and disaster risk reduction, and governance and security across the region.
Since 1997, the UK has given nearly £94m in bilateral aid and debt relief to Jamaica.