USSOUTHCOM Sends Humanitarian Assistance To El Salvador In Wake Of Floods
By Dialogo November 12, 2009The international response to provide humanitarian assistance to El Salvador continues since torrential rains unleashed a wave of landslides and floods that swept through the country on Sunday, killing at least 130 and leaving hundreds homeless. The U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) is at the forefront of the humanitarian relief effort, quickly deploying a Joint Task Force-Bravo team to the beleaguered partner nation. The team is comprised of thirty-seven personnel, four helicopters (one HH-60, one CH-47 and 2 UH-60s) and will be working alongside U.S. Army engineers to conduct damage assessment. The U.S. military also sent a shipment of debris clearing equipment, sanitation kits and blankets to assist in the present crisis. USSOUTHCOM’s commitment to providing regional humanitarian assistance is longstanding and is a key pillar in efforts to strengthen security and stability in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Throughout the region, USSOUTHCOM manages several programs ranging from the construction of emergency operation centers, shelters, wells and schools, in addition to providing a series of medical services. During a 12 month period starting in October 2008, USSOUTHCOM conducted 122 projects in 26 countries. Recent missions have included earthquake relief in Costa Rica in support of search and rescue operations; flood relief in Panama and Costa Rica to deliver 314,000 pounds of supplies and provide medical evacuations; and food and medical aid to Haitian communities devastated by a series of hurricanes and storms. Humanitarian assistance exercises are also an integral part of this effort to improve capabilities to provide disaster relief in the region. In 2009, the Southern Command also sponsored Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias, a multi-national exercise improving how civilian, government and military agencies from the United States, the Caribbean and Central America respond to natural disasters in the region. Among the current U.S. government efforts to assist El Salvador, USAID is providing an initial $100,000 for the local purchase of essential emergency relief supplies and the provision of fuel for El Salvador’s armed forces helicopters that will transport supplies and fly assessment missions over the areas affected by Tropical Storm Ida. In 2003, the U.S. military built a disaster relief warehouse that was donated to El Salvador.