This snapshot, taken on
10/08/2009
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.
Ministry Of Defence
Nav Bar MOD Home MOD News MOD Search MOD Contacts

Operations

  Ministry of Defence /  UK Defence Today / Operations

British military assistance to relief operations following the tsunami
in the Indian Ocean is being provided under the name of Operation Garron


Latest news in summary - updated 22 January at 2000

The oceanographic survey ship HMS Scott has been tasked, with the agreement of the Indonesian Government, to begin an immediate survey of the seabed at the epicentre of the earthquake. The water depths reach 5000m, requiring Scott's specialist capability for study, and the area needing to be examined is measured in tens of thousands of square miles. The urgency of the task is to gather scientific data before sediment disguises the changes to the seabed's structure. The hydrographers serving in Scott are being reinforced by a team of civilian scientists for the task, which it is hoped will increase our understanding of the disaster's mechanics and help inform efforts to warn of future such events. Royal Fleet Auxiliary Diligence and HMS Chatham have completed their work in Sri Lanka and are returning to their normal duties.

Royal Air Force aircraft continue to deliver humanitarian aid and support equipment to Indonesia. Hundreds of tonnes of equipment and aid has now been flown into the disaster area by the RAF C-17, Tristar and Hercules aircraft. A pair of Army Air Corps Bell 212 helicopters, normally based in Brunei, are operational in northern Sumatra. Despite their relatively small size, they have moved some 12,000lbs of humanitarian aid, as well as providing vital airmobility to aid workers.

Royal Navy engineers from RFA Diligence continue to work in the Maldives, repairing 28 generators to restore electrical power.


Background

Following the devastating tsunami that struck the coasts of southern Asia on 26 December 2004, the Armed Forces are providing support to the UK Government disaster relief efforts which are being coordinated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development. The latest information on the overall UK Government relief programme can be found on the DFID website.

Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team personnel have been deployed by the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand, able to provide expert advice across the full range of military assistance likely to be needed. These are working very closely with the local authorities, FCO and DFID officials, and other aid agencies to ensure that UK military assistance is provided where it is most needed and can be most effective.

The frigate HMS Chatham and the repair ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary Diligence were directed into the disaster area. Chatham arrived off Colombo in Sri Lanka on 3 January, while Diligence embarked humanitarian stores in Cochin, south-west India. The ships offer a broad range of capabilities. Chatham has two Lynx helicopters ready to provide much needed air mobility, as well as providing an excellent communications platform. Diligence has extensive workshops and the ability to provide emergency electrical and fresh water supplies, as well as transport stores and act as a mother-ship to small craft engaged on relief work along the coastline. A twenty-strong Forward Support Unit of Royal Navy engineers has flown out from Portsmouth Naval Base to ensure Diligence's engineering capabilities can be used to maximum effect.

Having used her helicopters and ship's boats to survey the damage along the southern coast of Sri Lanka, HMS Chatham is now off the town of Batticaloa on the eastern coast, and work parties have begun work ashore. The repair ship RFA Diligence joined Chatham off Batticaloa on the morning of 7 January. The ships have had work parties ashore, helping provide shelter for those whose homes were destroyed. A Royal Navy team has also worked to make wells safe to drink from again, clearing debris from the shafts, pumping out salt water contamination left behind by the tsunami, then testing the water rigorously to ensure it is potable. Royal Navy personnel have also helped repair and refloat fishing boats left damaged and stranded on the shore by the tsunami, in some case two kilometres down the coast from where they had been moored. By repairing the boats, it is hoped that fishermen can once again begin helping to provide food for the local population. HMS Chatham has also provided significant assistance to the isolated community of Kalladar. The Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn MP, visited Batticaloa and the RN teams on 8 January.

Engineers from RFA Diligence have been flown to the Maldives to help repair electrical generators and water desalination plant. Father Charles Howard, the chaplain in Diligence, rededicated a church largely destroyed by the tsunami - the disaster struck during a service, and claimed the lives of most of the congregation. RN personnel cleared the church of rubble and Fr Charles rededicated the building at the request of two survivors since their own minister is in hospital, severely injured. The Forward Support Unit also helped clean up St Theresa's school for girls.

Royal Air Force air transport have also been heavily involved in the international relief operation, especially C-17 heavy airlifters delivering equipment, including stores donated by Scandinavian partners, to allow the United Nations to establish relief operations in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. As noted on the United Nations Joint Logistic Centre's website, the RAF C-17s have provided a unique capability during the initial phase of the international airlift. An RAF Mobile Air Movements team, originally deployed to the region specifically to support the C-17s, is based at the airport at Banda Aceh, which is so critical to the relief effort in the worst affected region of Indonesia, to help Indonesian and Australian personnel maximise the number of relief flights able to use the airfield. Two military logistic planning experts have also been sent from the UK to reinforce the World Food Programme coordination team working in Jakarta.

Press Notice from HMS Chatham (dated 5 Jan 2005)

Press Notice from HMS Chatham (dated 6 Jan 2005)

Press Notice from HMS Chatham (dated 7 Jan 2005)

Press Notice from HMS Chatham (dated 8 Jan 2005)

Press Notice from HMS Chatham (dated 10 Jan 2005)

Press Notice from HMS Chatham (dated 14 Jan 2005)

Royal Navy Camera Team's video footage:

Decontamination of a well
(8 January)

Children at a tented encampment
(8 January)

Salvage and building work
(8 January)
RealMedia format (2.8 MB) RealMedia format (2.5 MB) RealMedia format (3.3 MB)
WMV format (13 MB) WMV format (11.2 MB) WMV format (15.3 MB)
     

St Theresa's Convent & Orphanage
(8 January)

Repairing and refloating fishing boats
(10 January)

Diligence's chaplain rededicates church
(10 January)

RealMedia format (2.2 MB) RealMedia format (4.5 MB) RealMedia format (4.2 MB)
WMV format (10.2 MB) WMV format (20.7 MB) WMV format (19.3 MB)
     

St Theresa's Girls' School
(12 January)

Further work refloating fishing boats
(13 January)

Rebuilding Four Square church
(13 January)

RealMedia format (6.1 MB) RealMedia format (7 MB) RealMedia format (2 MB)
WMV format (28.6 MB) WMV format (32.4 MB) WMV format (9 MB)
     

Bridge rebuilding
(16 January)

Burial of a victim found during work
(16 January)

 
RealMedia format (11 MB) RealMedia format (3.2 MB)  
WMV format (50.6 MB) WMV format (14.8 MB)  
     


One of Chatham's Lynxes, the only means of
reaching the isolated community of Kalmadu
(Click here for high resolution)


Sailors and Royal Marines
from HMS Chatham at
work in Kalmadu
(Click here for high resolution)


(Click here for high resolution)

Arduous clearance work
in Kalmadu
(Click here for high resolution)


Part of the international
aid effort at Banda Aceh
(Click here for high resolution)


Devastation in Sumatra, seen
from a C-17 on final approach
to Banda Aceh airport
(Click here for high resolution)

An RAF C-17 heavy airlifter
makes another delivery
(Click here for high resolution)


Temporary shelters amidst
the damaged houses
(Click here for high resolution)


Two Senior Rates toil at
the bottom of a well, clearing
the contamination to make
it a safe source of water
once more
(Click here for high resolution)

Girls help sort the badly damaged
books at St Theresa's School
(Click here for high resolution)


A Sri Lankan military helicopter
makes an aid delivery as Royal
Navy personnel help clear
up a damaged community
(Click here for high resolution)


One of Chatham's Lynxes on
a makeshift helicopter landing
site established on a badly
damaged causeway. RN personnel
are helping the Sri Lankan
authorities with its repair
(Click here for high resolution)

All that remains of the village of
Kalmadu, where the Royal
Navy are helping Dutch aid
workers provide tented shelter
(Click here for high resolution)


A Royal Navy surgeon holds
a clinic at Kallar hospital
(Click here for high resolution)


An aviation officer from Chatham'
chats with some of the families
waiting to see the doctor. The Lynx
helicopters have been one of the only
means of delivering supplies to the
community
(Click here for high resolution)

In the hospital grounds, a Chief
Petty Officer pumps contamination
from a well
(Click here for high resolution)


Members of the Forward Support
Unit clear rubble from St Theresa's
Girls' School
(Click here for high resolution)


Diligence's chaplain rededicates
the remaining structure of Four
Square Church, largely destroyed
with most of its congregation when
the tsunami struck during a St
Stephen's Day service.
(Click here for high resolution)

Medical supplies delivered
by HMS Chatham are sorted
at Kalladar hospital
(Click here for high resolution)


The devastated community
of Kalladar, now receiving
assistance from Chatham
(Click here for high resolution)


Royal Navy personnel help
scrub clean a ward at
Kalladar hospital
(Click here for high resolution)

One of Chatham's Lynxes
delivers humanitarian aid
to Kalladar
(Click here for high resolution)


Back to the water 1:
a fishing boat is heaved
upright by personnel
from RFA Diligence and
the Forward Support Unit
(Click here for high resolution)


Back to the water 2:
local men help edge the
fishing boat down the beach
(Click here for high resolution)

Back to the water 3:
the boat is finally returned
to the sea, ready to allow
fishermen once more to feed
local people
(Click here for high resolution)


Sailors from the Forward Support
Unit strain with a lever
while manoeuvring a fishing
boat stranded on the shoreline
in preparation for repair and
reflotation
(Click here for high resolution)


Royal Navy personnel at work
repairing a fishing vessel
(Click here for high resolution)

HMS Chatham's chaplain
presents the ship's crest to
the Mother Superior of St
Theresa's at the conclusion
of work by the frigate's crew
to make the convent safe
(Click here for high resolution)


Royal Navy personnel take
the lead in erecting tented
accommodation donated
by the Rotary Club of
Helston
(Click here for high resolution)


Children at the tented camp
receive a drink of water
(Click here for high resolution)

The International Development
Secretary, Hilary Benn, hears
the harrowing tales of those
who survived the tsunami
at Batticaloa
(Click here for high resolution)


A pump draws contaminated
water from a fresh-water well next
to a church in the Batticaloa region
(Click here for high resolution)


One of HMS Chatham's sailors hard
at work clearing debris from the well-shaft
(Click here for high resolution)

The International Development
Secretary, Hilary Benn, is briefed
by the well clearance team
(Click here for high resolution)


Local people wait anxiously as a
Chief Petty Officer from HMS
Chatham test the water from the
well to ensure that it is potable

after the debris has been cleared
and salt water contamination
pumped away
(Click here for high resolution)


A work party from HMS Chatham
clears the rubble of houses demolished
by the tsunami at Batticaloa
. Local
people, previously too traumatised
to start rebuilding their homes,
were soon inspired to join the effort
(Click here for high resolution)

A sailor at work clearing the
ground so that rebuilding can begin.
Work is also underway to restore
electrical power and decontaminate
the fresh water supplies, as well
as providing interim tented shelter
(Click here for high resolution)


HMS Chatham's surgeon and
a naval aviation officer
discuss with Sri Lankan Air Force
officers suitable helicopter
landing zones around Batticaloa

(Click here for high resolution)

 
A Warrant Officer from Chatham's
reconnaissance party photographs
damage to the local fishing fleet.
One potential task for Royal Navy
assistance is to repair the boats
so that the fishermen can return
to sea and start providing food
once more
(Click here for high resolution)

A badly damaged causeway
at Batticaloa, seen from
one of Chatham's helicopters
(Click here for high resolution)

Tangalla village seen from a
Royal Navy helicopter reconnaissance
flight over Sri Lanka's damaged coasts
(Click here for high resolution)

On the ground at Tangalla - the
fishing village's destroyed
fuel compound
(Click here for high resolution)

Where one of the fuel tanks
was left by the force of
the tsunami
(Click here for high resolution)

The damage at Kurundi
in Sri Lanka, again surveyed
by HMS Chatham's helicopters
(Click here for high resolution)

A close-up of one of the buildings
in Kurundi, with boats left
stranded on a first-floor balcony
(Click here for high resolution)

A female RAF movements officer
plans another delivery flight from Royal Australian Air Force Butterworth
(Click here for high resolution)

The C-17 and an RAF Tristar
at Penang, loading freight
for Banda Aceh
(Click here for high resolution)

United Nations vehicles disembark
from the C-17 at Banda Aceh to help
establish UN relief operations
(Click here for high resolution)

RAF Movements personnel
prepare the cargo shackles
on a C-17 in readiness for
loading with aid stores in Denmark
(Click here for high resolution)

Aid teams try to snatch some
rest among their vehicles during
the long flight east on the C-17
(Click here for high resolution)

Humanitarian stores are loaded
aboard an RAF C-17 heavy airlifter
at Penang airport, Malaysia, for
delivery to Banda Aceh in Indonesia
(Click here for high resolution)

A 22-tonne forklift truck is loaded
aboard an RAF C-17 aircraft
at RAF Brize Norton for delivery
to the United Nations in Banda Aceh
(Click here for high resolution)

The documentation on a
Land Rover donated by the
Department for International
Development, also part of the
C-17's cargo
(Click here for high resolution)

The vast cargo hold of the C-17,
filled with 60 tonnes of vehicles,
supplies and aid team personnel
destined for Indonesia
(Click here for high resolution)

Useful Links

> Foreign & Commonwealth Office

> Department for International Development - tsunami relief

> United Nations Joint Logistics Centre

> HMS Chatham

> RFA Diligence

> RAF Air Transport:


The Ministry of Defence is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

 

 

Copyright | Privacy | Security