PETERSON AFB, Colo. —
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: deployment of logistical support forces, commodity distribution and increasing the medical capabilities on the island.
Today, the Department of Defense has scheduled 12 airlift missions to continue the movement of rough terrain ambulances; disaster readiness beddown sets which includes bedding, latrine facilities, kitchens, laundry and water purification capabilities; elements of the 14th Combat Support Hospital; additional CH-47 Chinook helicopters; and elements of the 127th Quartermaster Water Company along with more water and meals in support of FEMA response efforts in Puerto Rico. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit continues central route clearance efforts today to open roadways into the interior of Puerto Rico to aid in the flow of commodities. In addition, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command completed the development and manning of Regional Staging Areas in Bayamon and Canovanas, facilitated a site survey for the Ponce Distribution Operations site, began water production operations in the vicinity of the Guajataca Dam and continued development efforts in Ceiba, Caguas, Guayama, Ponce, Utuado, Arecibo, Mayaguez and Aguadilla Regional Staging Areas.
Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, together with U.S. Navy Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202, continue central route clearance efforts to open roadways into the interior of Puerto Rico to aid in the flow of commodities. Additionally, the Marines’ and Seabees’ operations include cutting fallen trees and removing debris. The 26th MEU will be replaced by the 24th MEU with comparable capabilities this week to take over operations. Throughout their efforts in the JOA, the 26th MEU delivered more than 750,000 pounds of aid, cleared more than 60 miles of road, flew approximately 350 flight hours, assessed 43 hospitals, and delivered 326 pallets of food and water.
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 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 and is continuing to transit around Puerto Rico to Mayaguez, Yauco and Ponce. In addition, the 14th Combat Support Hospital is setting up operations today in Humacao.
DoD also continues delivering supplies on the ground as additional distribution centers are established across Puerto Rico. To date, more than 7.6 million meals, 6.2 million liters of water, and 271 generators have been delivered to Puerto Rico in support of FEMA and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Defense Logistics Agency continues to deliver 2.5 million meals per day.
Yesterday, DoD deployed the 14th Combat Support Hospital and the 633rd Expeditionary Medical Support with 25 beds and surgical capabilities. DoD continued to work yesterday with FEMA and Health and Human Services to expand comprehensive commodity distribution and medical support networks within Puerto Rico. Additionally, the Joint Force Land Component Command Surgeon General began developing a ground ambulance common operating picture with the Puerto Rico Department of Health and HHS to identify available assets, requirements and potential gaps.
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.