VOLUNTEERS from a Chilmark-based disaster response charity have touched down in the Bahamas after a devastating hurricane hit the region.

Team Rubicon UK (TRUK) has deployed a reconnaissance team following Hurricane Dorian, which has affected tens of thousands of people. 

TRUK ex-military "Greyshirts" are in the capital Nassau, working with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and in collaboration with other humanitarian organisations on plans for aid distribution.

The storm – which pummelled the archipelago last weekend leaving thousands homeless while wrecking airports, ports and roads – has so far taken 20 lives, with officials expecting the death toll to rise.

Former soldiers Paul Taylor and Lizzie Stileman landed on Wednesday (September 4) and have been using their military backgrounds to assess where best to use the specialist skills of its volunteers to get life-saving provisions to those who need it most.

They will be joined tomorrow (Saturday, September 7) by two "strike teams" of Greyshirts, one of which will head to Grand Bahama, where up to 11,5000 families are in desperate need of shelter, water and supplies.

The other will focus its attention on nearby Abaco, which has around 3,600 families requiring urgent support.

Each will work to distribute essential aid to wherever needs it most.

The charity anticipates its volunteers will be in the Bahamas for eight weeks, helping the country get back on its feet following a hurricane described by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis as a “historic tragedy”.

Taylor, who is operations response manager for Team Rubicon UK and an Afghanistan veteran, said he and his fellow volunteers would do all it could to help the most vulnerable, but encouraged public donations.

He said: “We know that tens of thousands of people were affected by this devastating hurricane and are now in dire need of humanitarian relief. 

“Where Team Rubicon UK can help with situational awareness, life support and logistics, we will – but we need support from the public to do so, so we’d appreciate if people could spare a few pounds.”

Team Rubicon UK’s Bahamas mission has been helped by a generous £25,000 donation from the City Corporation’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Team Rubicon UK CEO Richard Sharp said: “I am immensely proud of our volunteers who leave their day jobs in order to help those who are most in need.

“As ever, during these critical early days, we are reliant on donations from the public and our partners to help the communities devastated by this disaster.”

In March, volunteers for Team Rubicon UK flew up to Mozambique to help communities affected by Cyclone Idai. The charity was able to provide assistance through its drone expertise and specialist water purification equipment.

To donate people can go to teamrubiconuk.org/donate