Puerto Rico is not alone amid the ongoing earthquake crisis it has been suffering over the past weeks. Help is coming from the Garden State which is about to send dozens of New Jersey State Police troopers to help as residents of the commonwealth work to recover from a devastating series of earthquakes.
The deployment was authorized by Gov. Phil Murphy and will include 50 state troopers who will leave this Saturday and return on Feb. 9.
According to the New Jersey State Police, on Wednesday, a first seven-member team will be sent to the southern coastal city of Ponce to coordinate with local authorities.
Murphy said Tuesday morning that fifty troopers will arrive on Sunday for a 15-day stay. The deployment mission will be to provide force protection at seven base camps providing temporarily housing for between 2,000 and 5,000 residents in the Ponce region of Puerto Rico.
Additionally, troopers will also be in charge of the traffic control posts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the duration of the deployment.
The presence of these officers on Puerto Rico territory, responds to the Emergency Management Assistant Compact (EMAC), agreement which allows states and territories to share resources following natural and man-made disasters.
You can read: Puerto Rico Still suffering
Colonel Patrick Callahan of the State Police recalled their last help mission after Hurricane Maria, and the promise they made. “Before we departed from the last of our deployments to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, we made a promise to local officials and residents that should they ever need us again, we would be there.” And he added, “Today we are making good on that promise. We are deploying a highly skilled contingent of troopers that will be able to immediately integrate into the recovery efforts already in place.”
Ponce is one of several cities in the island’s southern region hit by the recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake that caused more than an estimated $200 million in damage. More than 7,000 people remain in shelters since the quake in a country still recovering from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that struck in September 2017.