The French armed forces in the Maria crisis in Dominica
The French armed forces in the West Indies, reinforced for the occasion by elements coming from Metropolitan France, are fully engaged in the rescue operations in Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria. France, through its proximity, was the first foreign State to intervene in Dominica, while its civilians and soldiers were, side by side, massively engaged in rescue operations in the French territories of Saint Martin and Guadeloupe (also struck by Irma and/or Maria).
Within 48 hours of the passing of Maria in Dominica:
- The first component of reconnaissance and evaluation was transported and landed at Roseau by helicopter and equipment was unloaded from the surveillance frigate “Ventôse”. This was the first aid provided by the international community to Dominica.
- Immediately after, a group of 70 first-aid workers along with their heavy equipment were unloaded from the frigate “Ventôse”.
- The “Ventôse” also unloaded a first supply of drinking water (33 tons) to meet the immediate needs of the population in Roseau.
- The frigate “Ventôse” also made the first deliveries of water and food to the isolated coastal communities.
- The first aerial reconnaissance of the entire country was carried out by a Falcon 50 the day after the hurricane; the French air means also carried out the first exhaustive reconnaissance of helicopter landing areas throughout Dominica and the first aerial reconnaissance of the road network in Dominica; all the information thus collected and useful to the international community for the coordination of relief efforts was spontaneously and without any restriction, shared with international aid partners by the French forces.
- French air means have ensured a significant part of the medical evacuations by air to Roseau or Fort de France after regulation by the French emergency (SAMU) doctors.
In addition, the airports in Fort de France and Pointe à Pître are also very active in supporting the operations of the other countries involved in international aid to Dominica and the naval base in Fort de France is also used for refueling and repairing the vessels of the partner countries upon request.