An RAF Chinook helicopter has been called to Northern Ireland to assist with an emergency operation to reach farms and families cut off by huge snow drifts.
It is due to refuel at Aldergrove, near Belfast, this afternoon and then begin airlifting fodder and provisions to the Glens of Antrim where thousands of livestock are feared to have died.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said, "The MoD can confirm that we have received a request from the Northern Ireland Executive to help deliver animal feed to farms severely affected by the recent snow".
"We are working with the NIE to see what support can be provided and a Chinook helicopter is being deployed to Northern Ireland this morning as part of this support”, he added.
A senior official with the Department of Agriculture will be on board the Chinook to identify areas worst affected by the snow and freezing temperatures.
Farmers said the conditions, especially in the Glens, are the worst in living memory.