MOBILE, Ala. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District deployed its first wave of personnel to Puerto Rico Sunday to stand up the Puerto Rico Recovery Field Office (RFO) that will oversee the management and execution of FEMA recovery missions to restore the essential public services and facilities.
The USACE has very specific tasks under the Stafford Act, which covers the federal agencies’ assistance to state and local governments to aid their citizens following a natural disaster. The Corps is responsible for Emergency Support Function 3 under the Stafford Act, which is to restore essential public services and facilities, according to the Mobile District Commander, COL James DeLapp, who is the officer in charge of all of the Corps assets deployed in Puerto Rico.
“The Corps is FEMA’s Engineer. Under the National Response Framework, the Corps has the missions to provide Puerto Rico with temporary power, temporary roofing, technical assistance for debris removal, and infrastructure assessment,” said DeLapp.
One of the first missions the Recovery Field Office and other Corps assets have already taken on is assessing the damage to the Guajataca Dam, designed to reduce the impacts of flooding in and around Ponce, Puerto Rico. The Corps is also working to provide emergency power to critical sites, such as hospitals.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Puerto Rico,” DeLapp said. “Hurricanes Irma and Maria were both devastating experiences. The health and safety of the residents of Puerto Rico is our top priority. Mobile District and other Corps assets are here to assist in recovery. We already have more than 100 people on the ground here in Puerto Rico and more on the way.
Release no. 17-048