As life-saving efforts continue in Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala, Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) begins to transition from rescue operations to delivery of necessary aid to communities that have been stranded for days since Hurricane Eta passed through Central America.
U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), is authorized to direct assigned forces at or near the immediate scene of a foreign disaster to take prompt action to save human lives. U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller has extended JTF-Bravo’s mission until November 16, 2020, and also authorized additional funding for the Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster Assistance, and Civic Aid program.
“More and more of the search and rescue is being taken over by the host nations,” said Colonel John D. Litchfield, JTF-Bravo commander. “The decision to push for another four days is timely. It gives us time to transition our relief efforts over to our partners as well.”
At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, JTF-Bravo has also begun delivery of humanitarian aid and disaster relief in Guatemala and Honduras. The first delivery of USAID humanitarian supplies was conducted November 9, 2020, to the Cortés department of Honduras.
This mission has been a collaborative effort between the host nation governments and organizations, the U.S. military and the U.S. embassies in each country.
“In Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala, our support has been a coordinated and cooperative relationship with the respective governments, building partnerships and following their leadership throughout the recovery effort,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Adam Bock, 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment commander, currently deployed to Panama.
There are now approximately 250 troops from JTF-Bravo, U.S. Army South, Special Operations Command South, and SOUTHCOM distributed among Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala.