Trump accepts PM Lee's offer of RSAF helicopters for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief
SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called American President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Aug 29) to express his concern and sympathies over the loss of life and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
SINGAPORE — The United States has accepted Singapore’s offer to render assistance for disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
In response to media queries, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said on Tuesday (Aug 29) night that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called American President Donald Trump to express his concern and sympathies over the loss of life and damage caused by the storm.
PM Lee had offered Singapore’s assistance in disaster relief efforts by deploying the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) CH-47 Chinook helicopters from its Peace Prairie detachment in Grand Prairie, Texas. Mr Trump thanked PM Lee and accepted his offer of help, said the spokesman.
In a statement early Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said it will deploy four of the helicopters to assist with the US relief operations, with PM Lee saying this was "a small gesture to express our appreciation and gratitude to the US and in particular the State of Texas, which have been good hosts for our Peace Prairie detachment".
According to Mindef, the RSAF’s helicopters will be able to airlift troops and evacuees, as well as transport supplies to where they are needed the most. They are expected to commence relief operations on Wednesday.
Hurricane Harvey has killed at least nine people, led to mass evacuations and paralysed Houston, the fourth most-populous American city.
(Click to enlarge) A readout of US President Donald Trump's call with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Aug 29).
This is not the first time Singapore has offered assistance in disaster relief efforts to the US.
In 2005, the RSAF deployed four CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Fort Polk, Louisiana to assist in disaster relief efforts following the deadly Hurricane Katrina, the costliest natural disaster to strike the US.
The team carried out various missions ranging from relocating evacuees to transporting Zodiac boats to facilitate search and rescue efforts.
They also helped to prevent further flooding of the city by airlifting around 2,000 kg sandbags and dropping them into gaping waters between crumbled portions of the levees.
The MFA’s spokesman added on Tuesday: “President Trump and PM Lee also discussed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) continued and deliberate provocations, including the latest ballistic missile launch on 29 August 2017.
“PM Lee said Singapore was deeply concerned and had issued a statement condemning this reckless action.”
On Tuesday, Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over northern Japan’s Hokkaido island into the sea, sparking alarm in the region.
The MFA’s spokesman also said that both leaders also looked forward to their meeting in the White House in October this year.