There has been further coverage this weekend of the UK’s response to Hurricane Dorian across print, broadcast and online outlets.
Dr Jon Stone, who is leading the field team of humanitarian experts deployed to the Bahamas, appeared on the BBC News channel yesterday. His live interview focused on what has been done by aid agencies, the challenges of the response and details on how the UK is responding. Dr Stone said “there is a huge international aid effort with more people arriving every day,” adding that “the Bahamian government is doing a fantastic job and the people are very resilient.”
He was also interviewed on the BBC World News at 1 about his experience in the Bahamas, and what aid has been delivered. Comments by Dr Stone also feature in an online ITV News article following an interview with them.
Wave 105, a regional commercial radio station broadcasting across East Dorset, South Hampshire, Isle of Wight and parts of West Sussex and Wiltshire, featured a separate clip by DFID Logistician Alex Franklin who is currently on board RFA Mounts Bay but had been on Abaco island himself.
Today's Mail on Sunday also highlights the role the UK is playing in responding to the crisis.
Separately, today’s Sun on Sunday reports “red tape” is stopping the Government drawing on the aid budget to respond to Hurricane Dorian.
It is not the case that the aid rules stopped the UK from responding.
The UK is providing urgent relief supplies including shelter for communities that have been left with nowhere else to go in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
DFID experts are working alongside local authorities, the British military, Foreign Office staff and international partners to urgently get life-saving assistance to the people of the Bahamas.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Mounts Bay has delivered essential aid to residents of Great Abaco in the Bahamas. This includes UK shelter kits for hundreds of people and hygiene kits, including basic items like soap. The ship has been pre-positioned in the region since June to prepare for hurricane season.
The Bahamas is not eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA), or aid money, under internationally agreed rules because of its Gross National Income per capita.
Through UK leadership, some of the international aid rules have been changed already.
The UK government successfully pushed for a change to the ODA rules following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This means ODA can be used to support small states or territories affected by extreme weather if it’s assessed there has been a sufficiently detrimental impact on GNI per capita.
In addition to the changes on ODA eligibility, two years ago the UK secured an increase in the proportion of aid spending which can be contributed to peacekeeping missions. This increased from 7% to 15%.
The below statement was provided to The Sun on Sunday, but was not included in their print story.
A Government spokesperson said:
“The aid rules have not stopped the UK from providing humanitarian assistance to the Bahamas. The UK government has worked alongside local authorities and international partners on the ground to provide urgent life-saving assistance.
“Where the UK considers the rules – established over 40 years ago - to be outdated, we have led the way in pushing for reforms.”