U.S. Department of Defense
|Release No: NR-322-17||September 11, 2017|
The Department of Defense is well postured with naval, air, and ground assets to initiate response operations in Florida today and will continue response operations throughout the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (VIPR) region. FEMA, NORTHCOM, and the USCG are closely coordinating on the management of air assets to maximize the effective unity of effort. DoD will complete the evacuation of U.S. citizens from St. Martin today, coordinate evacuation of U.S. citizens from the British Virgin Islands, and will provide humanitarian assistance (water, sanitation, logistics support, movement of disaster relief personnel, humanitarian commodities movement) in response to State Department requests.
Situation Update: Irma, now a tropical storm, continues to weaken as it moves northwesterly into the southeastern U.S. today. The center is located 60 miles north of Tampa, FL, with sustained winds of 70 mph. FEMA estimates that nearly 5 million (34%) customers are without power in Florida. The main water line into the Florida Keys is reported off-line. Damage to the Keys may necessitate evacuation of the 10,000 persons who did not evacuate prior to the storm.
DoD Response Details:
Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (VIPR):
- Approximately 4,600 service-members are supporting relief operations in the region.
- USS KEARSARGE/26 MEU, USS OAK HILL, and USS WASP are on station in the U.S. Virgin Islands transferring non-critical care patients, delivering food and water.
- 26 MEU will transfer UK Marines in St. Croix forward to the UK Virgin Islands.
- TRANSCOM continues support to the St. Martin evacuation and humanitarian assistance, and the strategic lift of commodities to VIPR.
- USACE power restoration teams, debris removal experts, temporary roofing teams, and port survey personnel are on station.
- DLA is shipping commodities and large generators to VIPR.
- Approximately 10,400 service-members are supporting relief operations in the region.
- USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN arrived off Florida's east coast last night with 24 helicopters and is prepared for operations in southern Florida and the Florida Keys this morning. USS IWO JIMA and USS NEW YORK are expected to arrive this morning.
- Homestead ARGB is assessed to be in good condition. The assessment of NAS Key West is ongoing.
- US Army is pre-positioning 200 High Water Trucks to be able to rapidly support Florida National Guard requirements.
- USNORTHCOM intends to establish airfields in southern FL and support operations from the sea with air assets from USS IWO JIMA, USS NEW YORK, USS SAN JACINTO, and USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
- USACE power teams, debris removal teams, temporary roofing teams and port survey personnel are on alert and ready in Florida and Georgia.
- DLA will support distribution of over 12 million meals over the next 10 days. All fuel requirements are met.
- 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. Overnight SecDef approved a DOS request to evacuate U.S. citizens from the British Virgin Islands.
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