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11 Mar 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. As at 12 Jan 15, there were 680 military personnel working on the Operation including 37 Canadians. The personnel were divided between: Sierra Leone – 340; RFA Argus – 324; UK – 12; Ghana – 3 and Liberia – 1. (HC 896, 11 Mar 15.)
Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that a UK military healthcare worker in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola. (PHE, 11 Mar 15.)
The International Development Secretary made a Statement in the House of Commons about the Ebola outbreak. The number of cases per week in Sierra Leone has reduced from over 500 to fewer than 60. RFA Argus is to sail by the end of March (2015), but there will be an enhanced MoD clinic in Freetown. Helicopter capabilities are to be replaced by commercial providers. (Hansard, 12 Mar 15, Column 419.)
On 12 Mar 15 the healthcare worker with Ebola was safely transported to the Royal Free Hospital in London. Two military personnel identified as ‘contacts’ returned on the same aircraft but were subsequently discharged. Two further military personnel were assessed in Newcastle, one being discharged. None of the four ‘contacts’ was diagnosed with Ebola. A sixth UK healthcare worker was evacuated and transferred to the Royal Free Hospital for assessment. (PHE, 13 Mar 15.)
Comment: The Commander of 104 Logistic Support Brigade gave a talk on ‘Countering Ebola in Sierra Leone: The British Military Contribution’ at The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on 11 Mar 15. The Brigadier presented a fascinating insight into the military approach to the epidemic, particularly after the failure of the international aid community to act coherently.
The UN Mission reported (13 Mar 15) that 24,350 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) have been reported in the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone).
10,004 deaths have been reported. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/12, 16 Mar 15) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/12, 16 Mar 15)
06 Mar 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. The UK is actively contributing to the Global Coalition’s efforts in support of Iraqi Forces including conducting over 150 strikes and training over 1,000 members of the Kurdish Peshmerga. In addition to the earlier delivery of lethal equipment to the Peshmerga, the UK will also gift 1,000 surplus Vallon counter-IED metal detectors to
Iraq and deploy a team to provide training in their use. (Written Answer (WA), 6 Mar 15.)
RAF aircraft have again struck a series of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) terrorist targets in Iraq. (MoD, 10 Mar 15.)
The Government is deeply concerned about the destruction of cultural, religious and historical sites in Iraq by the so-called ISIL. The UK has expressed its strong support for the Government of Iraq’s efforts to preserve the Country’s rich cultural heritage. (WA, 10 Mar 15.)
In Northern Iraq, the British military team has completed delivering a programme of Infantry training for the Kurdish Peshmerga and is now providing training assistance to counter the threat from improvised explosive devices. (MoD, 11 Mar 15.)
Comment: MoD notifications about ‘Air strikes in Iraq’ continue to be headed: ‘British Forces continued to conduct air Operations to assist the Iraqi Government in its fight against ISIL.’ (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/12, 16 Mar 15)
11 Mar 15. Afghanistan: Commemoration Service. Eight family members of British Army soldiers from Fiji who lost their lives in Afghanistan are to fly to the UK to attend the Service of Commemoration, as guests of the British Government. (FCO, 11 Mar 15.)
A Service of Commemoration took place in Kabul on 13 Mar 15 to mark