PETERSON AFB, Colo. —
The Department of Defense continues to focus its relief efforts in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on areas officials deemed priorities: deployment of logistical support forces, commodity distribution and increasing the medical capabilities on the island.
Today, DoD has deployed the 35th Expeditionary Signal Brigade to provide command, control, communications and computer support for DoD and FEMA responders; the 393rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion for logistic support to DoD responder teams; a Movement Control Team to support transportation and movement in Puerto Rico. In addition, a veterinary detachment arrived in Puerto Rico to help treat livestock and local animals.
U.S. Northern Command continues to distribute commodities via ground and air today in support of FEMA’s ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Approximately 71,000 liters of water and 35,000 meals are being distributed to nine municipalities and the Defense Logistics Agency is executing a water plan to distribute up to 2,500,000 gallons of water in Puerto Rico. Yesterday, the DoD supplied over 162,000 gallons of bulk water, 44,000 gallons of bulk fuel, 1,500,000 meals, and 2,990,000 bottles of water to Regional Support Areas; additionally, 106,000 meals and 244,000 bottles of water were delivered directly to Puerto Rico municipalities.
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is currently conducting central route clearance today in order to open up roadways into the interior of Puerto Rico. Additionally, the 26th MEU, along with Marine aviation units, continue support operations today at the Guajataca Dam to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to repair the Guajataca Dam.
Today, the hospital ship, USNS Comfort, continues to engage with Health and Human Services and the Puerto Rico Department of Health representatives in its continued support to patients on the island. In addition, 13 flights are scheduled today to transport hospital units to St. Croix and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, as well as sustainment and transportation units for Puerto Rico. Yesterday, the USNS Comfort was near the coast of Arecibo-Manati when she received four critical patients from Hospital Menonita in Caguas after its generator failed. Patients were medically evacuated by helicopters from the USS Wasp and USNS Comfort. Comfort, with the assistance of Army Black Hawk helicopters, had also received critical patients from Ryder Memorial Hospital in Humacao two days prior after its generator also failed.
Currently we have more than 6,600 active duty service members and 56 helicopters operating in and around Puerto Rico.
To date approximately 7.4 million meals, 5.8 million liters of water, and 294 generators have been delivered to Puerto Rico in support of FEMA and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
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.