SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Over 300 U.S. service members temporarily based in Honduras are poised to respond to Hurricane Irma in the eastern Caribbean Sea, at the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development - Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands (JTF-LI), composed of elements from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Southern Command, Joint Task Force - Bravo and elements of other Southern Command components will provide humanitarian assistance / disaster relief support to the island of St. Martin. USAID/OFDA requested DoD support to relief efforts after the island’s infrastructure sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Irma.
“The goal of our efforts in St. Martin is straightforward,” said Marine Corps Col. Michael Samarov, commander of JTF-LI. “We want to save lives and ease human suffering, and also augment civilian emergency response capabilities until our efforts are no longer necessary.”
JTF-LI is equipped with several disaster relief capabilities, including command and control, humanitarian assessment, water production and helicopter transportation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered loss during this time,” said Samarov. “We are honored to help in any way we can.”
For more information on JTF-LI, please contact the following individuals:
Joint Task Force - Leeward Island Public Affairs Officer
Capt. Jeremy Croft
U.S. Southern Command Forward Public Affairs Officer
Maj. Joost Verduyn