Asian Tsunami

Defence written question – answered on 18th January 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Stewart Mr David Stewart PPS (Rt Hon Alistair Darling, Secretary of State), Department for Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what military assistance the UK has provided following the tsunami disaster; and what plans he has made for further military assistance.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

holding answer 17 January 2005

The Ministry of Defence has reacted quickly with other Government Departments in responding to this disaster, with the focus being on assisting the UN through DfID, with whom we are working very closely, and the provision of direct relief where appropriate.

The following military assets have been assigned to assist in the relief operation in the Indian Ocean:

The frigate HMS Chatham (which carries two Lynx helicopters) was redirected to the area on 30 December, arriving on 3 January; and the support ship RFA Diligence, already in the region, joined Chatham off Sri Lanka on 5 January. These vessels have undertaken a number of relief tasks, including assistance to the town of Baticoloa in the East of Sri Lanka, and provision of engineers to the Maldives to assist with refurbishment of generators and desalination equipment. Chatham and Diligence have worked closely with an Observation, Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT) which deployed to Colombo on 31 December, part of which also deployed to the Maldives on 6 January.

Royal Air Force C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft have also been assisting in the aid operation since 31 December, including through the delivery of UN infrastructure equipment and medical and other relief supplies into the worst affected areas.

A further OLRT deployed to Indonesia on 2 January, including to the Aceh region. MOD liaison officers are deployed with the US, Australian and Indonesian military headquarters in the region.

The Indonesian Government has accepted an offer of additional technical support in the form of two Ball 212 helicopters from the Gurkha Garrison in Brunei. These two aircraft are planned to deploy to the area on 12 January. Further, small, deployments of niche capabilities such as logistics planners and engineers have also taken place in response to DfID and OLRT requests.

UK MOD continues to work closely with Governments in the region, the UN and DflD to determine the requirement for military assistance over the coming period.

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