Newsom deploys 31-person team of disaster specialists to quake-stricken Puerto Rico

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Saturday that he is deploying a team of 31 state disaster specialists to Puerto Rico to assist the island to rebuild and recover following a series of earthquakes.

The deployment comes following a direct request for assistance from the government of Puerto Rico to the California Governor’s Office.

The team will deploy for 16 days and will be led by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), consisting of experts in incident and emergency management, engineering and safety assessment, planning, public information, debris management and crisis counseling, the governor’s office said.

The California team will coordinate closely with Puerto Rico emergency management and public safety officials.

“California stands with the people of Puerto Rico,” Newsom said. “Our nation-sized state knows first-hand the devastating toll of natural disasters and we will provide aid and support as our brothers and sisters rebuild and recover.”

The majority of the team will depart for Puerto Rico from Sacramento Sunday morning and will be initially deployed to the U.S. territory’s capital of San Juan.

A series of earthquakes over the past week have severely damaged infrastructure along Puerto Rico’s southwest coast and left more than 2,000 people in shelters, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nearly one million people remain without power and hundreds of thousands are without water.

Newsom recently approved the deployment of four California urban search and rescue teams from Sacramento and Orange County, the governor’s office said.

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