Providing humanitarian assistance

When natural or man-made disasters occur, a country’s infrastructure and resources can be crippled. With loss of electricity, shortage of food and water supplies, and human lives at risk – responding to such life-threatening scenarios is central to the Royal Navy’s ethos. Because we have the skills, equipment and know-how to go anywhere, regardless of potential damage to local infrastructure.


Explore the ways we provide humanitarian assistance.

Restoring infrastructure

Our ability to be a self-sustaining, flexible force able to overcome adverse conditions makes us key to laying the foundations for ongoing aid operations. From re-establishing law and order, to restoring water and power, and repairing airstrips, roads and buildings;

Providing aid & support

The Royal Navy’s fleet has some of the most experienced logistical supply ships in the world. Manned by a highly-skilled force, we have quickly and effectively delivered life saving supplies to Sri Lanka, Haiti, the Philippines and the Caribbean Islands;

Evacuations & repatriations

The UK has a duty to protect its nationals and dependent territories. During the Lebanon and Libya crises we safely evacuated fleeing citizens. We also repatriated 200,000 stranded nationals during the 2010 Icelandic volcanic ash incident. 

Acting swiftly

As disasters or crises unfold, acting quickly can save lives. As a part of the Response Force Task Group deployed globally, a collection of British Armed Forces that are held at a very high state of readiness, we are on hand to act swiftly.  

Preparing for the worst

To maximise our effectiveness, we conduct regular training exercises that simulate evacuations, repatriations and delivery of aid. When time and the elements are against us, this kind of preparation makes a crucial difference.

operations Operation Ruman

Operation Ruman is the UK's military response to providing vital humanitarian aid and supplies to the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma. The specialist humanitarian and disaster relief team on RFA Mounts Bay and her Wildcat helicopter are providing assistance to badly affected areas. Royal Marines from 40 Commando are helping to distribute aid and support local police. HMS Ocean has been diverted from the Mediterranean and is carrying a significant amount of aid and equipment.

operations Operation Gritrock

The UK armed forces played a pivotal role in delivering British support as they worked with the government of Sierra Leone to tackle the crisis. Using British expertise and local building contractors, the UK committed to support 700 new beds in Ebola treatment facilities. This package supported the country’s stretched public health services in containing the disease by helping up to nearly 8,800 patients over a 6-month period.

operations Atlantic Patrol Tasking North

The APT(N) task centres on reassurance to UK overseas dependent territories, providing humanitarian and disaster relief during the main hurricane season (June to November) and conducting counter narcotic patrols as part of the wider international effort.

operations Maritime Security

British ships and units are committed to operations in the Mediterranean. Operations focus on maritime security, reassurance and wider regional engagement to build regional maritime capability as well as providing humanitarian assistance as required.

Preventing Conflict

The Royal Navy’s presence on the world stage sends a powerful message that the UK is committed to global affairs and provides a stabilising influence. In this way we prevent conflict on the high seas and protect the flow of international trade on which our nation depends.