HMS Daring is on her way to assist the Philippines after the country suffered crippling devastation during Typhoon Haiyan.
The Type 45 destroyer was in the South China Sea as part of an international exercise and has now changed course to come to the aid of the stricken state where up to 800,000 people are in need of urgent humanitarian support.
It is estimated she will arrive in the Philippines in 3 days’ time.
The Portsmouth-based warship has more than 200 personnel on board, all of whom are trained in humanitarian disaster relief.
As well as casualty search teams and a large number of first aiders, HMS Daring also carries a Royal Navy chaplain, dentist, doctor, and engineers in a number of specialisations, as well as boat and air crews.
HMS Daring’s medical officer, Surgeon Lieutenant Sophie Butterworth, said:
Once I know the full details of the overall mission I can decide what type of medical support we can provide.
It will either be setting up a local station where we can provide first aid and more advanced medical care for the local population, or, if there is already a health facility that has been overrun with patients, we can provide a team to ensure that it is brought back to working order.
In the main we will be expecting to treat the injuries of those who survived the initial storm – so broken bones, large cuts and wounds and psychological damage.
Our aim is to stop these from being compounded by infections such as cholera which might spread through a contaminated water supply. We will be relying on the marine engineers in that case to help restore a clean water supply – it will be a real team effort.
In terms of equipment, the ship holds 700 ration packs, 550 litres of bottled water and can provide 20,000 litres of clean drinking water within 24 hours.
Also on board are generators, firefighting equipment, thermal-imaging cameras, floodlighting and rescue equipment .
The Commanding Officer of HMS Daring, Commander Angus Essenhigh, said:
We are fully prepared to assist with the aid effort having been trained in disaster relief shortly before we deployed and are ready to put those skills to good use.
Our plan is evolving hour by hour but, rest assured, we will be able to make a significant impact for those affected and who need our help the most.
We have a strong team with no shortage of useful skills and equipment who are busily preparing for what we may encounter.
Find out more about how the UK is helping people devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.