October 12, 2017


U.S. Northern Command continues to focus its relief efforts in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in three primary areas: increasing the medical capabilities, commodity distribution and debris clearance on the island.

Today, the Department of Defense has scheduled 12 airlift missions to Puerto Rico to continue the delivery of food and water; Humvees; medical supplies; disaster readiness beddown sets which includes bedding, restroom facilities, kitchens, laundry and water purification capabilities; the 4th Sustainment Brigade; 127th Quartermaster Water Company; and additional CH-47 Chinooks and support teams. Currently, we have more than 8,100 active duty service members and 72 active duty helicopters operating in and around Puerto Rico.

Route clearance operations continue today in order to open roadways to aid in the flow of commodities into isolated areas in Puerto Rico. Engineering teams will remove debris, restore culverts, bridges and make primary and secondary roadways drivable. To date, route clearance teams have cleared 90 percent of primary roadways and teams are now focusing on secondary roadways that will allow for greater distribution of commodities to isolated areas. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit continues to hand over responsibility to the 24th MEU this week in order to sustain route clearance, distribution and logistical movement operations in support of Puerto Rico relief efforts.

DoD continues to support medical capabilities today in Puerto Rico through ground and sea-based medical support facilities including the hospital ship USNS Comfort. The USNS Comfort is continuing to travel between Arecibo and Aguadilla and future movements of the USNS Comfort will be determined and coordinated with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Health and Human Services when new requirements are identified. Additionally, the 14th Combat Surgical Hospital is currently moving to Humacao. Yesterday, 25 DoD teams traveled to Puerto Rico hospitals to support communication capabilities.

Today, in the support of distributing supplies, DoD used ground and air assets to send supplies to central regions as additional distribution centers are established across Puerto Rico. Yesterday, DoD delivered approximately 4,608 meals and 5,760 liters of water to Lares, Coamo, San Lorenzo and Juana Diaz. To date, more than 7.8 million meals, 6.4 million liters of water, and 271 generators have been transported to Puerto Rico in support of FEMA to be further distributed to municipalities around the island.

USNORTHCOM’s mission is to assist lead federal relief agencies in helping those affected by natural disasters to minimize suffering while continuing its mission of defending the Homeland.