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RAF Odiham crews support Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts

Teams from the Odiham airbase were also working along the north-east coast of England during last week's storm surge

Cpl Jimmy Wise (RAF) / UK MoD Crown
East coast relief efforts from RAF Odiham Chinook

Personnel from RAF Odiham have been busy providing support for emergencies both home and abroad.

They are currently helping victims of the Philippines typhoon disaster and were also in the north east of England after last week's storms caused widespread flooding and damage to coastal defences.

A four-man team from RAF Odiham is busy supporting the UK Department for International Development’s humanitarian and disaster relief mission after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, which has killed more than 3,900 people and left around 500,000 homeless.

Consisting of Flt Lt Ian Rees, Cpl Wellesley Houghton, Senior Aircraftsman Graeme Ardley and Private Callum Sanderson, the team helped with a number of reconnaissance flights on islands north west of the main island of Panay before heading north east.

Flt Lt Rees and Cpl Houghton were then able to join assessment teams on the ground. Within the first 72 hours, 70 tonnes of aid was distributed.

The team is continuing to visit further island clusters to provide vital help.

Meanwhile, a Chinook from RAF Odiham's 18 Squadron has helped the repair and flood relief effort in the north east after storms caused wide scale flooding and damage to coastal defences last Thursday and Friday.

The team flew to Seal Sands in Middlesborough and were asked to lift multiple tonnes of sandbags into a 30m-long breach in a defensive wall before high tide arrived.

After lowering the defences into place, the Chinook returned to a local military airfield.

They remained in the area throughout the day on Saturday to provide additional support to the wider relief task.

RAF Odiham station commander, Group Captain Richard Maddison, said: "This is a fantastic example of the adaptability and capability of the Support Helicopter force and its personnel.

"The Chinook Force has continuously supported national resilience and military aid operations since it was introduced into the RAF in 1981.

"It is a truly adaptable aircraft, capable of operating day and night in adverse weather and environment.

"The aircraft, however, would not be able to reach its true versatility without the support of the thousands of service and civilian personnel stationed at RAF Odiham.

"Everyone, be it aircrew or engineers, administrators or caterers, pull together to achieve one aim, and that is to enable the Chinook force to be able to provide this level of support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”



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