A Royal Navy aircraft has helped to “turbo charge” humanitarian aid efforts in Haiti after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake, the Ministry of Defence said.
The crew of a Wildcat helicopter, usually based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, have been assessing the damage by surveying the area around the epicentre of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the Tiburon Peninsula in the south west of the Caribbean country.
The aviators in the helicopter are assisting by locating villages, towns and infrastructure in need of help and are often in the air from dusk to dawn, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Task group photographer Leading Seaman Rory Arnold said: “Knowing that my work is being used to assess the areas damaged by last week’s earthquake is humbling. It’s great to see my training being used to help those affected.”
The aircraft is from Royal Navy support ship RFA Wave Knight, which was sent to bolster the international aid effort following the disaster on August 14.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said on Tuesday that the UK has sent shelter kits and solar powered lanterns to help up to 1,300 vulnerable families.
The aid left Heathrow via a British Airways/IAG Cargo flight and is expected to arrive in Haiti in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday, with more such support due to follow later this month.
Minister for the Caribbean, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, said: “The UK is now providing vital shelter and lighting for up to 1,300 vulnerable families in Haiti, following the recent devastating earthquake.
“We committed up to £1 million of UK aid and a Royal Navy Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship to support the relief effort and stand ready to provide more to the international response.”
The earthquake has so far left more than 2,000 people dead, 344 people missing, 12,000 injured and more than 100,000 destroyed or damaged homes.
The RFA Wave Knight has been providing fuel for US Army Black Hawk helicopters, which are involved in relief efforts on the ground and providing rest for crews and a space for mechanical repairs.
The Royal Navy ship is a flagship of the Royal Navy’s Caribbean task group, which also includes the patrol vessel HMS Medway.