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Royal Air Force Assistance to Pakistan Relief Effort
Published Thursday 20th October 2005
Chinook aircraft from Royal Air Force Odiham [Picture: Stuart Bingham]
Ration packs for Pakistan are loaded into a Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules [Picture: RAF]
Three Chinook aircraft from Royal Air Force Odiham, Hampshire will go out to Pakistan to aid the relief effort. On 19 October 2005, the Ministry of Defence offered three Chinook heavy lift helicopters to the relief effort in Pakistan, as a further part of the UK Government effort, following a request for helicopters from the Government of Pakistan to the Department for International Development.
The Chinook will be deployed to assist in disaster relief work being carried out in the region, following the devastating earthquake of the 8 October 2005 in Muzaffarabad, Kashmir. John Reid, Secretary of State for Defence, said:
An Operational Liaison Reconnaissance Team (OLRT), led by Permanent Joint Headquarters, Northwood, and supported by the Joint Helicopter Force, is in theatre conducting a detailed study of the tasks the Chinooks might undertake in the region.
The three Chinook aircraft from No 27 Squadron will deploy from Royal Air Force Odiham to assist the international humanitarian relief effort. The first will depart on Saturday 22 October 2005. The aircraft will be transported in C17 aircraft of No 99 Squadron to Islamabad before flying into the affected area.
Elements of the Joint Helicopter Force Headquarters, based at RAF Odiham, will also deploy to provide command and control for the operation, along with teams from the Joint Helicopter Support Unit who will assist in the preparation of aid for movement by helicopter.
The scale of the devastation caused by the earthquake has resulted in a clear need for additional helicopters to provide relief in the region. The MOD has responded to this humanitarian crisis with the deployment of forces ideally suited to providing support in natural disasters due to their high readiness and the ability to operate independently from unprepared areas.
The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK Government response. DFID are funding the Chinook deployment at a cost of £3M. The Cabinet Office is acting in a coordinating role. The MOD is in close consultation with DFID about UK military assistance.
Other MOD assistance to date includes:
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