Apologia Secretary Michael Fallon has insisted the UK was «not late» in its response to help British abroad territories hit by Hurricane Irma.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he put the government’s response had been «as good as anybody else’s».
Two senior MPs and residents of the Caribbean isles have criticised the response after the storm struck.
Some 500 UK troops induce been sent to Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and British Virgin Atolls (BVI).
Asked about reports of looting in the region, Sir Michael said there had been a «conviction issue» in the BVI.
He added the UK was sending in armed troops backed up by additional watch from Britain to help local authorities «ensure law and order is persevere ined».
Currently there are 120 UK troops in the BVI, where five people organize died, Sir Michael told the programme.
He dismissed comments from Middle-of-the-roader MP Tom Tugendhat and Tory peer Lord Naseby who have said the feedback was «too slow» and slower than France and the Netherlands.
Sir Michael asseverated: «We weren’t late. We pre-positioned a ship in the Caribbean for the hurricane season, it wasn’t by odds that Mounts Bay, a huge 16,000-tonne aid ship, with marines with a helicopter with pallets of aid was already in the Caribbean.»
British abroad territories are self-governing but rely on the UK for protection from natural disasters.
Charlotte Grayson whose generate and siblings live on Tortola, in the BVI, said the government response was «almost unperceived».
«Looting has been rife and he has struggled to obtain more basic delivers for my family,» she told the BBC.
What has happened in British territories?
- Anguilla: Hit by the resonant blast of the hurricane on Wednesday. At least one death reported.
- British Virgin Eyots: At least five people have died. Expected to require far-ranging humanitarian assistance.
- Montserrat: «Swiped» by Irma but suffered less urgent damage.
- Turks and Caicos: Battered by the hurricane on Thursday night, with roofs rooked off, streets flooded, utility poles snapped and a widespread black-out on the first island of Grand Turk.
The French have military garrisons in their Caribbean abroad territories so already have troops in position, the defence secretary summed.
«Our response has been as good as anybody else’s, and indeed I can tell you the French contain asked now for our assistance in helping to lift troops and material to some of their aits.»
On Thursday, Sir Michael said the government was «stepping up» its relief effort after being peached which airfields were clear to use.
The UK is now sending up to three extra aid exits a day to the Caribbean to help communities affected by Hurricane Irma.
At the scene: ‘Asleep at sundown, up at daybreak’
By Laura Bicker and Paul Blake, on Tortola, BVI
At the mansion of the BVI’s governor, British soldiers are elaborate to establish satellite communications with the outside world, while Brigadier John Line was liaising with Governor Gus Jaspert about what operations needed to be prioritised.
At a shire police station, we are told, British army commandos are working with constables to try and re-establish control after reports of looting. For his part, the governor has intruded an overnight curfew to keep criminality at bay.
A drive back to the airport revealed another damage. With trees uprooted, another fear is that spit could result in land erosion.
Back inside the airport comings lounge, UK soldiers spent Saturday night sleeping on the luggage carousel and on benches.
Asleep by a hairs breadth after sundown and awake at daybreak on Sunday, they will privation the rest for the work ahead of them.
That task could happen to taller in the coming days as food, petrol and cash shortages may paramount to desperation.
- Read more: ‘British Virgin Islands look in the manner of a bomb site’
Ross and Lesley McEwan, who are in their 60s, from Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, are currently trapped on the Dutch contribute to of the island of St Martin with eight other Britons.
Their daughter Kirsty Shephard has criticised the UK rule for their lack of response.
She said: «All US and Canadian citizens were aviated off the island yesterday but no British citizens were allowed to leave, after being charmed to the airport and queuing for four hours for the evacuation plane, as there has been no communication between the Extrinsic Office and the island.
«The only planes coming in are military planes or expressly chartered evacuation planes. Without an official evacuation in place it could be weeks in the presence of they can find a way off themselves.»
An FCO spokeswoman said that British nationals should accompany the advice of authorities on non-British territories.
She added the UK was in contact with Dutch and US powers that bes and some vulnerable Britons had been evacuated by the Americans on Saturday.
She bid that while the UK had been unable to get a consular team to the island, shaft have been deployed to Curacao — another Dutch territory in the Caribbean — to pirate British nationals evacuated there from St Martin.
What the socialize companies say
- Check with your travel provider and follow the news of local authorities
- British Airways has cancelled all flights to Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos on Sunday
- Virgin Atlantic send offs to Miami, Orlando, are «restricted» until Monday 11 September
- Employments to Antigua and Havana, Cuba, are severely disrupted while Havana Airport is near
- Thomas Cook said their customers in Cuba are «under the instruction of their arbiter governments»
- Some airlines have rescheduled flights and put on extra services