Singapore will deploy up to four Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) CH-47 Chinook helicopters from its Peace Prairie detachment in Grand Prairie, Texas, to assist with the United States’ relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said early Wednesday (Aug 30).
The offer was conveyed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday when he spoke to US President Donald Trump on the phone while the latter was en route to Texas. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also expressed his concern and sympathies over the loss of life and damage caused by the storm.
Mr Lee said 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 a MINDEF news release. President Trump thanked PM Lee and accepted his offer of help.
Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said it will deploy four of the helicopters to assist with the US relief operations.
The RSAF’s helicopters will be able to airlift troops and evacuees, as well as transport supplies to where they are needed the most, MINDEF added.
Hurricane Harvey has killed at least nine people, led to mass evacuations and paralysed Houston, the fourth most-populous American city.
The first Chinooks are expected to commence relief operations on Wednesday.
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 RSAF worked alongside the Texas Army National Guard.
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.
Mr Lee’s upcoming meeting with Mr Trump comes after they met at the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit in Hamburg in July. At that meeting, Mr Trump said that he looked forward to receiving PM Lee in Washington DC later this year.