After a number of hurricanes ripped through the Caribbean, leaving a number of people displaced and without power, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is focusing on supporting Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria disaster relief.
In early September, Hurricane Irma tore through more than ten Caribbean nations, including the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and Cuba, beginning Sept. 6 before making its way to the U.S. coast.
It is the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Wilma of 2005 in terms of maximum sustained winds.
A few short weeks later Hurricane Maria followed, devastating the island of Puerto Rico.
Conducting this operation under the support of Global Affairs Canada, the CAF has currently deployed Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) St. John’s to the Caribbean, carrying humanitarian assistance supplies and disaster response equipment. It is also equipped with a CH-124 Sea King helicopter.
So far, the HMCS St. John’s crew has assisted with disaster relief efforts in Domnica and Turks and Caicos. Besides transporting humanitarian aid, the crew has assisted in clearing debris and conducting repairs, medical evacuations, restored power and water resources, delivered water, and assessed underwater damage.
Additionally, the Royal Canadian Air Force is supplying aircraft to fly humanitarian and disaster relief supplies to the affected areas. Two CC-130J Hercules aircraft, based out of Barbados, are providing airlift support. One of these aircraft is moving the Jamaican Defence Force’s Disaster Assistance Response Team and equipment to Dominica, at the request of Jamaica.
A CC-177 Globemaster is currently providing airlift support to American relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Additional Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft are supporting disaster relief in Barbados and the British Virgin Islands by transporting humanitarian supplies and bringing Canadian citizens safely home.