HC Deb 29 November 1988 vol 142 c568
11. Mr. Ian Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance has been given by his Department to Jamaica as a consequence of the recent hurricane.

Mr. Younger

British forces were the first outsiders on the scene to give practical assistance to Jamaica in the aftermath of hurricane Gilbert which struck the island on 12 September. HMS Active arrived to give assistance on 15 September, and the crews of Active and RFA Oakleaf spent six days in Jamaica providing food, medical relief, reconnaissance, temporary repairs to a number of hospitals, and the reconstruction of power lines. A detachment of the Royal Engineers from Belize arrived on 16 September and spent nearly three weeks working on emergency repairs, water and electricity supplies to a hospital and on major repairs to several children's homes. In addition, the RAF flew in two consignments of relief equipment, including much needed tents and blankets, using C130 Hercules aircraft.

Mr. Taylor

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that extremely positive reply and for his prompt response to that terrible natural tragedy. Can he give us some idea of the cost of those provisions to the island of Jamaica?

Mr. Younger

I thank my hon. Friend for what he has said and I shall see that that is passed on to all the service men who took part in the operation. The cost of the MOD contribution to the Jamaica disaster relief operation is roughly £100,000, but the bill will be met by the Overseas Development Administration, not by the MOD.

Mrs. Mahon

Is the Minister prepared to give the same assistance to Nicaragua? Recently, we heard on the world service that there had been a major ecological—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Unfortunately, the question is about Jamaica.