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Press Release | Oct. 5, 2017

RELEASE: Joint Task Force completes support to relief mission in Caribbean

MIAMI (Oct. 5, 2017) – The U.S. military task force established by U.S. Southern Command Sept. 9 to support the evacuation of hurricane victims and U.S. foreign disaster assistance in Saint-Martin, Sint Maarten and Dominica is scheduled to complete its operations in the Caribbean today.

Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands (JTF-LI) deployed to the region after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck to support foreign disaster assistance operations led by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), responding rapidly with critically-needed capabilities to deliver assistance and aid to areas identified as priorities by USAID/OFDA in coordination with the governments of Dominica, Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten. 

At its peak strength, the task force included more than 300 Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, as well as 10 Army and Marine helicopters, four U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, and the U.S. Navy’s amphibious ship USS Wasp, expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead, and support from P8 Poseidon and P3 Orion aerial reconnaissance aircraft.

During its mission, JTF-LI transported more than 340,000 pounds of relief supplies, including plastic sheeting, hygiene kits and water containers provided by USAID. The task force also desalinated 83,020 gallons of water.

At the request of the U.S. State Department and partner-nation governments, JTF-LI also evacuated more than 2,200 U.S. and foreign citizens left stranded by the category five storms in Saint-Martin, Sint Maarten, Dominica, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands.

Today, the task force’s final U.S. military flight carrying aid to Dominica will arrive on the island with more than 28,000 pounds of additional shelter materials and water containers.

As the ongoing international relief mission progressed and experienced experts arrived to assist the region, U.S. military capabilities were no longer requested, and remaining tasks were assumed by other organizations experienced in long-term disaster relief.

JTF-LI completed its support to U.S. relief operations in Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten Sept. 28. After ending operations in Dominica today, the task force will leave some personnel in Guadeloupe to begin preparing for their departure.

USAID/OFDA will continue to lead the U.S. humanitarian response efforts in the Caribbean, in coordination with international donors, partners, and host governments. 

As of October 3, the U.S. Government has provided more than $12.6 million in humanitarian assistance to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint-Martin, and Sint Maarten.