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French Navy offers assistance in disaster management

French Navy offers assistance in disaster management

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A real time exercise to demonstrate the ability of the French Navy to deliver humanitarian aid in the event of a natural disaster was conducted by the French Navy at Layou and Mount Wynne beaches yesterday.{{more}}

At approximately 3:00 p.m yesterday, the ‘Dumant D’Urville’ was expected to offload some military vehicles, as would be done in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster.

The exercise is one of cooperation between the French West Indies and its neighbours, H.E Michel Prom, French Ambassador to the OECS Member States, explained during a press briefing last Friday, April 20.

“This presence of the ship shows that we from the French West Indies are in solidarity with the OECS Member States,” H.E Prom said.

He further explained that in the Caribbean, the islands share the threat of being devastated by a hurricane and must prepare in the same way for them.

So, this mission shows and prepares the states in the Caribbean for a catastrophic hurricane, the French Ambassador said.

The Dumant D’Urville is a specially designed ship with a bull gate at the front and, complemented by the amphibious capabilities of the vessel, can provide support from the beach in the event that the main harbour is damaged.

“Because we have amphibious capabilities, that gives us the ability to land on the beach. And going on the beach we will be able to provide some assistance to islands surrounding Guadeloupe and Martinique,” Lieutenant Commander Luc Stutzmann said.

“We cross our fingers hopefully that we will not be hurt by a hurricane, but if that would happen, we would be ready to provide support to almost all the islands in the West Indies,” he continued.

But before this part of the mission could be facilitated, Lt Stutzmann explained that previous trips had been made to map the area.

Lieutenant Colonel Herve de Solages, Head of the International Affairs Office, Non-resident Defence Attache, explained that a site cannot be used unless it has been validated.

A technical map of the area has to be done, so with the cooperation of the host government, the area was inspected by a team of divers, Lt-Colonel Solages explained.

“So, it is a process which began a long time ago,” Lt-Colonel Solages said.

“As soon as we receive authorization, we send a team and finally the ship comes very near to the coast and offloads up to 300 tonnes of goods,” he said. (DD)

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