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DoD offers massive response to Hurricane Irma

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Defense (DoD) has initiated response operations in Florida and continued response operations for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (VIPR) today. FEMA, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), and the U.S. Coast Guard have developed an aviation command and control plan to maximize unity of effort. DoD completed evacuating U.S. citizens from St. Martin yesterday, coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens from the British Virgin Islands, and provided humanitarian assistance (water, sanitation, logistics support, movement of relief personnel & humanitarian commodities) at the request of the Department of State.

Situation Update: Tropical Storm Irma slowly weakened while moving into southern Georgia. Florida Power & Light reports a record 6.6 million (65%) customer outages, leaving 10 million without power and exceeding the previous outage record of 6.2 million with Hurricane Sandy. An air survey of U.S. Highway 1 revealed that the road surface is intact; operations await ground assessment of bridges.

DoD Response Details:
Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (VIPR):
- Approximately 4,600 service-members are supporting relief operations in the region.
- KEARSARGE/26th MEU, OAK HILL, and WASP are conducting relief operations in the USVI. The SS WRIGHT will depart Philadelphia tomorrow to augment VIPR support.
- USNORTHCOM and U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) are coordinating the movement of British Royal Marines to Antigua and Turks & Caicos Islands.
- USTRANSCOM is moving U.S. Army medical support capability to St. Thomas to establish temporary medical facilities there.
- USACE power restoration teams, debris removal experts, temporary roofing teams, and port survey personnel are on station and assessing support requirements.
- FEMA shipped 28 of 31 Defense Logistics Agency-provided generators to VIPR; DLA continues to push commodities.

- Approximately 10,400 service-members are supporting relief operations in the region.
- ABRAHAM LINCOLN is positioned off Florida's east coast with 27 helicopters. IWO JIMA and NEW YORK will arrive today.
- Search and rescue (SAR) resources from Moody, Davis-Monthan, Nellis Air Force Bases, and Fort Campbell are prepared to support FL operations. NAS Key West is unusable. AFNORTH is evaluating basing options.
- US Army has 33 of 100 requested High Water Trucks enroute to FL from Fort Bragg, NC.
- USNORTHCOM will also conduct operations from the sea with aircraft from IWO JIMA, NEW YORK, SAN JACINTO, and ABE LINCOLN. - USACE power teams, debris removal teams, temporary roofing teams and port survey personnel are in place in Florida and Georgia. USACE is working closely with USCG to reopen ports - focusing on Port Everglades and Tampa, which are critical to fuel distribution.
- DLA is coordinating shipment of fuel and meals to bases in South Carolina and Georgia.

Evacuation of American Citizens. USSOUTHCOM has coordinated the evacuation of 1,904 persons (including 35 foreign nationals) over the past three days. DoD and DOS plan to evacuate all U.S. remaining U.S. citizens requesting evacuation today. Planning is ongoing to evacuate an estimated 500 U.S. citizens from the British Virgin Islands, to begin not later than tomorrow.

Foreign Disaster Assistance: USSOUTHCOM is repositioning aircraft from Honduras to St. Martin and responding to requests for air traffic control and engineering assessment support.

Published September 12, 2017

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