Irma could cause US$1B in damage Soldiers ready for mercy mission
HAMILTON – A detachment of Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers is readying for a mercy mission to hurricane-devastated UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.
Disaster recovery experts from the RBR’S Gun and Assault Pioneers, as well as Special constables, will join Bermuda Police service officers and fly out to a staging post in Barbados as soon as air transport can be arranged.
Governor John Rankin and Deputy Governor Ginny Ferson surveyed preparations at Warwick Camp yesterday, where a team of 28 soldiers with two officers packed away for what Executive Officer Major Corey Smalley described as specialist post-hurricane relief.
Rankin said he was proud to see Bermuda’s volunteers headed to join the UK effort, which has about 700 troops on the ground at present with some 50 police.
They embed with the 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, soldiers from the British Army’s Royal Engineers who support the elite Royal Marines 3 Commando. The British Virgin Islands, one of Bermuda’s fellow UK Overseas Territories, leading a delegation that visited the islands battered by the Category 5 storm last week.
“It is still too early to say but clearly if you have [a group of] countries like the BVI you have got to be talking hundreds of millions of US dollars, if not or close to a billion dollars or more,” he added.
CARICOM Secretary General Irwin la Rocque, who was part of the delegation, described Irma as a “nuclear hurricane”.
“When it shook Tortola as a Category five and you have heard it being described as a nuclear hurricane, I now understand what they meant . . . The damage is just overwhelming.” (CMC)