USNORTHCOM donation sends flood relief to Mexico

By Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - A U.S. Northern Command donation through a special humanitarian assistance program managed in the Interagency Coordination Directorate resulted in the funding of a 23,000 gallon-per-hour pump to help flood clean-up efforts in Matamoros, Mexico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.

The pump was delivered by a Consulate General team July 1 to a flooded street in Matamoros.

The donation shows U.S. solidarity with the people of Matamoros in their time of crisis, said Consul General Michael Barkin. The pumps, he added, not only helped the people of Matamoros but also helped the Consulate demonstrate its ability to help during times of strife.

"It was the kind of good publicity money can't buy and will be extremely helpful to us as we represent the U.S. here at the border," he said.

The humanitarian assistance program brings together USNORTHCOM and its interagency partners to improve disaster preparedness and community resiliency in Mexico and The Bahamas.

"This program allows us to help our neighbors develop and improve their ability to respond to catastrophic events such as pandemic outbreaks, hazardous material releases and natural disasters," said Robert Mackay, USNORTHCOM Interagency Coordination Directorate Humanitarian Assistance Branch chief. "With the help of our colleagues in the Consulate, we had a $2,800 piece of equipment pumping water out of an inundated city within three hours from the initial request."

USNORTHCOM has completed seven humanitarian assistance projects in Mexico and The Bahamas since the program started in 2007 with more than 30 others currently being planned.

"This program is about helping our neighbors," Mackay said. "That is the essence of USNORTHCOM's humanitarian assistance program."