UPDATE: U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND CONTINUES HUMANITARIAN AID TO PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Release No: 17-023 Sept. 27, 2017
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PETERSON AFB, Colo. —

U.S. Northern Command, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is currently adjusting its focus in Puerto Rico from a short term, sea-based response to a predominantly land-based effort designed to provide robust, longer term support.

U.S. Northern Command continues to conduct 24-hour operations, conducting search and rescue operations, bringing additional essential commodities to the islands, and restoring power at hospitals, ports, airports and other critical facilities.

In Puerto Rico, enhanced communications and completed assessments are providing a clearer picture of the extent of damage, allowing the federal response to better focus its efforts.
Today, the Department of Defense is conducting 16 missions scheduled to deliver food and water, fuel, medical supplies, contingency response units, communications support, as well as assisting with commodity distribution in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Specifically:

Puerto Rico:

• U.S. Marines and Navy sailors are actively providing first responder movement, commodity and fuel distribution and route clearance in Puerto Rico. They have established Roosevelt Roads Airfield as a staging base to actively provide hurricane relief and commercial air operations. They are also transporting Health and Human Services assessment teams to hospitals across Puerto Rico to determine medical requirements.

• The Defense Logistics Agency is transporting 15,000 gallons of fuel to Puerto Rico, in addition to their ongoing food, water and basic commodity deliveries.

• One C-5 is arriving in Puerto Rico with support staff to begin the transition from a sea-based to land-based response. This unit includes approximately 50 personnel.

• One C-5 and one C-17 is arriving in Puerto Rico with the Mobile Emergency Response (MERS) unit to provide mobile telecommunications, life support, logistics, operational support and power generation. This is a continuation of yesterday’s mission and provides a total of four units in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each of the four units includes approximately 20 personnel and equipment.

• One C-17 and two C-130s are arriving in Puerto Rico with the Federal Aviation Administration’s initial response team from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. This is a continuation of yesterday’s mission to provide airfield support operations.

• One C-130 is arriving in Puerto Rico with the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. This unit includes approximately five personnel and five tons of equipment to provide full-spectrum communications support.

U.S. Virgin Islands:

• The Defense Logistics Agency is transporting 10,000 gallons of fuel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, in addition to their ongoing food, water and basic commodity deliveries.

• Five C-17s are arriving in Saint Thomas with the 247th Composite Supply Company from Fort Carson, Colorado, to provide supplies to the 601st Area Support Medical Company. This unit includes approximately 30 personnel and 190 tons of fuel and medical equipment.

• Four C-17s are arriving in Saint Croix with 22 pallets of bottled water and 25 pallets of shelf-stable meals able to support 250,000 local residents.
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.

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