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02 Apr 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. The UN Secretary-General announced the appointment of a Panel “to make recommendations to strengthen national and international systems to prevent and manage future health crisis, taking into account lessons learned from the response to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease”. (UN, 2 Apr 15.)
RFA Argus arrived back in Falmouth on 7 Apr 15; her three embarked helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron having left the ship for RNAS Culdrose on the previous day. 300 UK military personnel remain in Sierra Leone. (RN, 8 Apr 15.)
Comment: The Financial Times (9 Apr 15) included an article on Ebola in West Africa. New cases of the disease were said to be on a “downward trajectory” with only 25 in the week to 29 Mar 15, compared to a weekly peak of over 500 in November 2014.
The UN Mission reported (10 Apr 15) that 25,556 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) have been reported in the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone). 10,587 deaths have been reported. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/15, 13 Apr 15)
07 Apr 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. Two Tornado GR4 flew an armed reconnaissance patrol on 2 Apr 15. A further Tornado patrol conducted a series of strikes South East of Mosul during the night 3/4 Apr 15. Other RAF aircraft flying on Operations in support of the Iraqi Government, include: Reaper remotely piloted aircraft; Sentry command and control aircraft; Sentinel surveillance platforms; Hercules air transports and a Voyager tanker. (RAF, 7 Apr 15.)
Comment: British Staff and Liaison Teams are said to be ‘embedded’ throughout Iraq and Coalition Headquarters “to help co-ordinate support in an effective manner, while military instructors continue to work with coalition partners in delivering training to the Iraqi and Kurdish Forces….”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/15, 13 Apr 15)
24 Mar 15. Ukraine: Use of Saxon Vehicles. The 75 Saxon armoured personnel carriers supplied to the Ukrainian MoD are to be used in the Anti-Terrorist Operation area by airmobile units for reconnaissance and general patrolling. Some of the vehicles may be used for medical evacuation. (Written Answer (WA), 24 Mar 15.)
The British Embassy in Kiev was not aware that the Saxon vehicles might be armed on their arrival in Ukraine and the MoD is not aware that the Ukrainians have armed any of the vehicles. The MoD has, however, been informed that some of the vehicles may be converted for medical evacuation purposes. (WA, 25 Mar 15.)
Comment: The former Chief of the General Staff, General Lord Dannatt, is on record (15 Feb 15) as saying that the Saxon vehicles were “quite useless” and “completely unsuitable for current Operations”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/15, 13 Apr 15)
30 Mar 15. Vanuatu: Cyclone Pam. The Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Vanuatu warned of a potential second emergency due to the destruction of
90% of crops by Cyclone Pam. Aid agencies have started to provide seed kits and will support Government efforts in restoring community infrastructure. (UN, 30 Mar 15.)
Some 110,000 people have no access to safe drinking water and, in some communities, all sanitation facilities were destroyed. Approximately 6,000 people are still living in temporary shelters in the two most affected Provinces (UN, 10 Apr 15.)
Comment: As at 10 Apr 15 only 36% of funds have been pledged for the $30m ‘flash’ appeal for Vanuatu which was launched on 24 Mar 15.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/15, 13 Apr 15)
19 Mar 15. Defence Expenditure: Remaining at Two Percent. The Lords’ Spokesman on Defence said (19 Mar 15) that the percentage of gross domestic product (GD