Hurricane Maria: Final aid drop lands on Turks and Caicos as storm approaches

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A final aid drop has landed on a British overseas territory ahead of Hurricane Maria's arrival, as residents stress a second storm is the last thing they need.

Winds of up to 110mph could lash the Turks and Caicos as the storm sweeps past the islands on Thursday night - with a hurricane warning issued.

Emergency steps have been undertaken on the islands to prepare for the looming onslaught, as residents and UK troops hunker down in anticipation of the worst.

Despite the storm tracking to the east of Turks and Caicos, he said the worry is whether any new damage could set back repairs already completed in the wake of Irma.

The 34-year-old from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told the Press Association there are approximately 70 UK military and personnel on Grand Turk who "are as prepared as possible".

"We have concentrated on preparation for this over the last couple of days - as soon as we knew it was heading our way," he said. "Supplies and stores have come in, so as soon as the storm has passed we can get out and assist where we can, just like we have for the last week."

British troops deliver aid on Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory affected by the wrath of Hurricane Irma (Georgina Stubbs/PA)
British troops deliver aid on Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory affected by the wrath of Hurricane Irma (Georgina Stubbs/PA)

A Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules aircraft, carrying 5.5 tonnes of UK Aid building material, plus additional food and water, landed on Grand Turk to replenish British troops supplies ahead of Maria's imminent arrival.

Master Corporal Benoit St-Germain, 29, of 436 Squadron joined the relief efforts on Saturday and delivered the latest batch of aid and said he is "very happy" to be part of the operation.

"It is nice we can go out and help people in need. There is nothing more satisfying in our job than to help people and to do what we are supposed to do," he said. "We know there are a lot of people in distress, so for us to bring them what they need, it is great."

Hurricane debris on Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands (Georgina Stubbs/PA)
Hurricane debris on Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands (Georgina Stubbs/PA)

Lt Dunning said the Canadians have been "really helpful", and alongside providing fresh water to South Caicos from HMCS St John's, they have also been giving fresh food to UK troops - providing a break from their ration packs.

Lt Dunning said troops will be positioned at Grand Turk's three main shelters during the storm, as well as at other structurally safe locations. He also revealed that those who are at medical risk have already been evacuated from the island to Providenciales, in the north west.

"All the community is aware of what's happening and they have been rushing around trying to secure their houses, and the military personnel have been helping and using UK aid," he added.

Just two weeks ago Turks and Caicos was ravaged by Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms in decades.