Eleven staffers from the Port Department of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey deployed to Puerto Rico on September 29, 2017 to assist emergency recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The 11 Port officials complement a deeper group of 70 Port Authority representing the agency’s Aviation and Police departments, as well as its Office of Emergency Management. The Port Authority’s task force, in turn, complements an extensive team of specialists and equipment deployed by New York State to assist the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, whose recovery needs include search-and-rescue operations, restoration of airport services, and the reestablishment of port commerce.
The Port Authority team will be entirely self-sufficient in order to better preserve what limited food supplies and other resources exist on the island for its residents.
The team’s deployment is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s overall statewide Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort for the Commonwealth, which also includes a donation drive for nonperishable goods, coordination of business donations to local charities, and efforts to provide medical supplies and personnel to the storm-ravaged island.
Both the states of New York and New Jersey participate in a national framework for assistance under FEMA’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which works through the states to ensure vitally important coordination of resources. Both New York and New Jersey actively participate in this network. The Port Authority has pledged full and responsive engagement with requests that come to either or both states during emergencies throughout the nation.
“Our hearts go out to our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico as they recover from Hurricane Maria’s unprecedented damage in the Commonwealth,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “This agency received help from numerous out-of-state emergency personnel teams in the wake of our own recovery from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and this deployment is a way for us to give back to others now in need.”
“The images from Puerto Rico are heartbreaking and we are proud to be part of Gov. Cuomo’s massive emergency response team to assist in the recovery,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Our aviation, port, police and emergency management staff will bring a wealth of critical expertise in their fields to help their counterparts and residents in the Commonwealth as they recover from this tragic event.”
Last month, the agency provided assistance to Texas in the wake of the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey that had several critical elements.
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