NC Emergency Management Team Heading to Puerto Rico

North Carolina is sending more help to Puerto Rico as the island continues to recover and rebuild from devastation caused after Hurricane Maria struck September 20, 2017. Tuesday morning, October 10, a 10-person incident management team comprised of local and state emergency management staff will fly to Puerto Rico to help local officials coordinate disaster response and recovery efforts.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Puerto Rico and others working to clean up and rebuild from this year’s hurricanes,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Experience has taught us how devastating hurricanes can be, and we’re fortunate to have strong teams of experienced professionals available to help Puerto Rico with its recovery.”

Six NC Emergency Management staff, three local emergency managers from Chatham, Haywood and Hyde counties, and a State Highway Patrol employee originally from Puerto Rico form the emergency operations support team. The group will be deployed for two weeks.

The team will join other North Carolina assistance already there including 200 NC National Guard troops that are helping to clear debris, restore infrastructure and make temporary road repairs, and a four-person animal care incident management team that is helping with various critical animal issues.

“This has been an extremely challenging hurricane season for many Southeastern states and the Caribbean islands,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. “Having additional expertise is essential, especially during these types of disasters.”

Puerto Rico requested help from North Carolina through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which helps coordinate relief for disaster-stricken states and US territories to make available the right type of resources at the right time. The requesting territory (Puerto Rico in this case) fully reimburses the assisting state for the total costs incurred. All resources are coordinated between state emergency management agencies.

The EMAC system was developed by state governors following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when critical resources were needed by the state of Florida. Last month, following Hurricane Irma, NCEM sent a mobile hospital to the Florida Keys where it remains operational. In August, North Carolina sent two NC Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Teams and five swiftwater rescue teams to Texas to support rescue missions following Hurricane Harvey.

Governor Cooper urged people who want to support Hurricane Maria relief efforts to make a financial contribution to a reputable relief organization.  Visit nvoad.org for a list of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Source: Ford Porter, NC Office of the Governor

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