Anti-piracy and escort duties took a temporary backseat earlier this week when elements of EU NavFor Somalia banded together to provide much-needed emergency medical supplies in the wake of the massive Mogadishu bomb.
The Spanish SH60B helicopter, from ESPS Rayo, was loaded with high priority medical stores and equipment requested by the UN, to support immediate needs in Mogadishu. The stores were received by Commander Russ Nash of the Royal Navy and his EU team of helpers, which was then moved as quickly as possible to UN medical teams and put to immediate use.
Rayo, the nearest EU NavFor vessel was diverted to provide immediate help. Even though she is a military vessel unable to support large numbers of casualties a decision was taken for the Meteoro Class offshore patrol vessel to assist on medical and humanitarian grounds.
In addition to EU NavFor efforts, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) also immediately started relief efforts and released initial emergency funding. This will support humanitarian partners to speedily provide medical and surgical supplies, referral services through ambulance services, deployment of an emergency rapid response team, as well as the provision of psychological support and counselling services to relatives and survivors of the incident and training of government health care staff.
The EU is a leading humanitarian donor to Somalia, having provided €119 million in emergency assistance in 2017.
The blasts in the Somalian capital at the weekend killed more than 300 people and, according to news agency reports, stretched Mogadishu emergency services to the limit.