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 11 airlift missions to Puerto Rico to continue the delivery of food and water; water pumps; sustainment brigade elements; medical supplies; disaster readiness beddown sets which include bedding, restroom facilities, kitchens, laundry and water purification capabilities; and additional CH-47 Chinooks. Currently, there are 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. Marines from the 26th and 24th Marine Expeditionary Units, together with U.S. Navy Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202, continue central route clearance efforts to open up 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 from landslides. Engineering teams will remove debris, restore culverts, bridges and make primary and secondary roadways drivable.
DoD continues to support medical capabilities today in Puerto Rico through ground and sea-based medical support facilities including the hospital ship USNS Comfort. USNS Comfort is conducting logistics and medical support operations in Arecibo and Aguadilla. Future movements of 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 partially operational today and is projected to be fully operational by Sunday.
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. 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.