HC Deb 20 December 1961 vol 651 cc162-3W
Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement on the extent of the Royal Air Force's aid to British Honduras following the recent hurricane damage, and to Kenya and Somalia following the famine resulting from floods.

Mr. W. J. Taylor

At the end of October six Britannias of Transport Command flew out urgently needed troops and stores to British Honduras. Six Coastal Command Shackletons and two Transport Command Hastings were also sent to operate locally between Jamaica and British Honduras because the airfield at Belize could not be used by large aircraft. Five hundred passengers and about 35 tons of stores were taken out from this country. Over 1,000 passengers and nearly 300 tons of stores were moved, mainly by Shackleton aircraft, between Jamaica and British Honduras. Valiants of Bomber Command are currently making a photographic reconnaissance of the Colony to facilitate the work of long-term reconstruction.

As early as September, Twin Pioneers from Air Forces, Middle East began to drop food and supplies to the population of the flooded coastal area of Kenya. The flooding worsened and on 15th November, an urgent request was received from the Governor for further aircraft to drop food and supplies. Beverleys from Air Forces, Middle East went there immediately and within 24 hours, four Beverleys had left the United Kingdom for Kenya, each carrying a Sycamore helicopter.

Shortly afterwards, an urgent request for help was received from Somalia, where flooding had also created a serious situation. A Shackleton from Aden surveyed the flooded areas and two Valettas were provided by Air Forces, Middle East to drop food supplies. Two Sycamores were also diverted from Kenya.

So far, over 2,000 tons of supplies have been dropped from the air in the course of relief operations by the Royal Air Force in Kenya and Somalia; these relief operations are continuing.