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Soldiers get to work in 'massive' relief operation for Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 14, 2014

  • Soldiers at Innsworth

  • Soldiers filling sandbags at Imjin Barracks

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Soldiers from Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC), ARRC Support Battalion sprang into action to prepare Imjin Barracks in a massive relief operation in Gloucester.

Troops have been called in to support British soldiers recently mobilised to help with relief efforts in the area affected by rising flood waters.

For more than six weeks most of England has been hit by harsh storms that have been devastating to many of the country’s citizens. Recently, it was estimated that 70 per cent of public service agencies have been deployed across the UK.

Extensive flooding has affected wide areas of Southern England with the southwest coast, Somerset Levels, Thames Valley and Severn Valley areas most severely affected. Consequently, the Army has prepared to deploy military personnel to provide support to the communities affected by the barrage of bad weather.

Major Nicholas Stamford, Commander, 14th Squadron, said: “HQ ARRC’s major role in the relief efforts will be to facilitate more than 150 soldiers on Imjin Barracks.

“Imjin’s gymnasium will be used as a sleeping area for the troops and cots have been set up for them to occupy until their duties are complete.

“Soldiers with 2 Royal Welsh have been attached to 3rd (UK) Division under the command of 43 Wessex Brigade to provide additional man power for relief efforts.

“They will support the civil authorities with local flood defences.”

Although Gloucestershire hasn't been hit as hard by the bad weather as some neighbouring counties, a number of communities have been flooded and county authorities have been working hard to protect local people.

Meanwhile, the county’s district and borough councils are ready to stand up rest centres if required, and working with the local services.

Civilians in most of the hard hit areas have already been evacuated and people are consistently trying to protect their homes and families.

Two-hundred and fifty tons of sand will be used to fill an estimated 20,000 sandbags that will be sent to the Tewkesbury area in support of relief efforts.

Major. Stamford said the soldiers will remain at Imjin Barracks as long as their assistance is needed.

The troops from Wiltshire-based 3rd (UK) Division under the command of 43 (Wessex) Brigade will be at Imjin Barracks in Innsworth to pack 20,000 sandbags for distribution to affected residents in Tewkesbury.

A delivery of 250 tonne of sand and 20,000 empty sandbags arrived at the Gloucestershire camp this morning. A total of 160 soldiers will pack and prepare the sandbags.

Councillor Jim Mason, Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment at Tewkesbury Borough Council said: “We are working hard to ensure our communities across the borough are provided with the support and free, filled sandbags that they need. The back-up provided from the military is very much welcomed and will continue working over the weekend and into next week to continue the support to our communities.”

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