Monday, September 11, 2017

Puerto Rico Helps Evacuate Americans from Caribbean Islands

The Government of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States (HHS), successfully evacuated over 1,028 people, mainly US citizens, from St. Marteen and the island of Saint Thomas (USVI), following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and immediate arrival of Hurricane Jose.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló stated that “the Government of Puerto Rico responded to the call of our fellow Americans in need not only out of solidarity but because it is our responsibility as the closest United States territory."

Flights were carried out by six C130 aircraft from the Puerto Rico, Kentucky and New York National Guards. Evacuation efforts will continue once the weather conditions in the region improve.

In Puerto Rico, Governor Rosselló coordinated efforts to provide adequate lodging and medical assistance with the State Department, National Guard, Federal Affairs Administration, Tourism Company, Ports Authority, Department of Transportation, Department of Family Affairs, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, among others, with the collaboration of the American Red Cross.

Aide provided to the evacuees included food and hotel accommodations, as well as assistance in arranging air travel to citizens' final destinations in the continental United States. Among those assisted, there were cases of families that had lost all of their belongings as a result of the natural disaster, as well as people without sufficient funds to sustain themselves, and individuals requiring urgent medical care.

Burger King, JetBlue, Iberia, and singer Ozuna y Dímelo Vi donated food to those arriving at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan. Southwest Airlines donated snacks and ice to assist in the emergency.

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