Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the deployment of additional personnel and medical supplies to Puerto Rico through the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort. The State deployed 72 Port Authority personnel this morning from the agency's Aviation, Port and Police departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management, following an advance team of five that departed yesterday. Governor Cuomo also deployed 53 members of the State Police to assist with security operations and 10 additional experts from the New York Power Authority to aid the Puerto Rican government with its ongoing power restoration efforts, all of whom were transported on flights donated by Delta. In addition, a shipment of critical medication and supplies organized by New York State departed from Republic Airport bound for San Juan, Vieques, and Culebra.
These deployments are all part of the Governor's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico.
"New York will continue to stand with the people of Puerto Rico during every step of their recovery, and these experts and resources will help our brothers and sisters rebuild and stay safe," Governor Cuomo said. "I am proud these fine New Yorkers have answered the call to help our fellow Americans in their moment of need, and I thank them for their service."
Port Authority Emergency Personnel
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has deployed a 77-member team of emergency personnel and support equipment to assist Puerto Rico. The team will be entirely self-sufficient to preserve limited food supplies and other resources on the island for its residents. Staffers from the Port Authority's Aviation Department are poised to help counterparts at San Juan International Airport and other airfields resume full flight operations. Employees of the agency's Port Department will assist in damage assessments at the Port of San Juan to help get shipping commerce back in operation. Port Authority Police will send officers to provide security services. The agency's Office of Emergency Management also will send support equipment and members of its staff to provide assistance.
The State Police has deployed 53 troopers to assist with security operations. Mission priorities include protecting commodities and fuel and securing the supply chains to ensure that the resources are distributed to people who need them most.
New York Power Authority Experts
The NYPA team will join NYPA technicians currently deployed in Puerto Rico, who have embedded into the emergency response team overseen by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). The 10 new personnel are subject matter experts in power transmission, generation, substations, utility logistics, project management, construction and power system energization. The NYPA team will coordinate directly with the United States Army Corp of Engineers and PREPA to help restore the damaged electric system. It will also help coordinate the necessary utility mutual assistance process with the American Public Power Association and the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council on the United States mainland. The enhanced NYPA team in Puerto Rico will now exceed 20 energy and construction logistics experts, as well as two drone pilots from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
In partnership with the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Afya Foundation, a Yonkers-based non-profit organization that collects and delivers surplus medical supplies to support humanitarian efforts and health crises worldwide, the first shipment left Friday morning from Republic Airport with priority for Hospital Susana Centeno on the island of Vieques, the University Pediatric Hospital in San Juan, and for the health care community on the island of Culebra. GNYHA donated syringes, and more than five thousand doses of vaccine and medication for conditions such as tetanus, infections, diabetes management and pain relief. Other supplies donated through Afya include basic first aid, over-the-counter medication and suture kits.
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said,"The City of New York and the Island of Puerto Rico share an unbreakable bond. From day one, Governor Cuomo has mobilized New York's resources to address what is becoming by the hour, a deepening humanitarian crisis. I commend the Governor's latest action to boost emergency personnel, supplies and bring much needed repairs to the Island's electrical grid. As the Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, I will continue to work at all levels of government until Puerto Rico is made whole again."
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said, "New Yorkers always stand with their friends in a time of need and thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we have continued to deploy a wealth of critical resources needed to help our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. Recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria will be a long and difficult process, but New Yorkers will be standing shoulder to shoulder with them every step of the way."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "The delivery of these much-needed medical supplies to the people of Vieques is fantastic news. I want to thank GNYHA for the donation, the Afya Foundation for providing the flight and Governor Cuomo and his office for facilitating the delivery. Puerto Rico needs every bit of help it and get, and I greatly appreciate the support that has come from everywhere during the island's time of need."
Gareth Joyce, S.V.P. – Delta Airport Customer Service & President – Cargo, said, “We are committed to helping Puerto Rico heal and proud to partner with Governor Cuomo to offer two humanitarian flights full of first responders from NYC to join in the relief effort. Since Maria made landfall, our 21 flights have been packed to the brim with much needed supplies and continue to offer more return seats for tourists stranded on the island, freeing up hotel space for aid workers and law enforcement.”
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, "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. 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."
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Our Troopers always stand at the ready to provide any assistance needed, whether it's near or far. We are committed to our mission in Puerto Rico, helping our friends and neighbors as they work to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria."
Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO, said, "The Power Authority is proud to assist the people of Puerto Rico during the terrible devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria. During my visit to Puerto Rico with the Governor last week, I was overwhelmed by the destruction and loss throughout the island. The NYPA technicians are very familiar with PREPA's electric system, as it is very similar to New York State's system, so I am confident that our expertise will be of significant value on the ground as we continue to coordinate with federal and local partners to repower Puerto Rico."
Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures President Lee H. Perlman said, "New York's health care community is committed to helping Puerto Rico however we can, and GNYHA's ability to access desperately needed pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies is an immediate and impactful way to do that. We are very proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and the Afya Foundation on this important mission to help Puerto Rico's health care community, and we look forward to securing more health care supplies for additional missions."
Afya Foundation Founder and Executive Director Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR said "We are thrilled to work with Governor Cuomo and GNYHA on behalf of Puerto Rico's health care community. By combining Afya's years of experience responding to crises worldwide with the Governor's fierce commitment to Puerto Rico and GNYHA's ability to secure medical supplies, we have an opportunity to literally save hundreds of lives."
For more information about the recovery and relief efforts underway in Puerto Rico, and to learn how you can assist, please visit the Governor's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico webpage.
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