Last week, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the U.S. and the Bahamas, causing considerable damage. I extend my deepest condolences to anyone who has a lost a loved one or was impacted by this powerful storm.
DHS takes natural disasters seriously and does everything it can to promote life-saving and life-sustaining strategies. We support safe evacuations of people in impacted areas, maintain public order, and safeguard property when they occur. Weeks in advance of Hurricane Dorian’s landfall, DHS tracked its path and began developing sound response plans, resulting in a whole of government and community approach before, during, and after impact. Our Department continues to work closely together to support those affected by Hurricane Dorian.
DHS components, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are working countless hours to support the response and recovery efforts of our state and local government across the region. We also continue to partner with the private sector, and non-governmental organizations, such as the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, to provide aid and support to our citizens and Bahamian survivors.
FEMA deployed more than 1,200 personnel to support response efforts to Hurricane Dorian across multiple states, assisting local, state, and tribal governments, as needed. Throughout the Southeast, FEMA staged areas, stocked with food, water, and other commodities. CBP also deployed people and assets to support federal, state and local agency partners, including aerial and urban search and rescue assets, advanced first aid capabilities, and aviation assets with real-time aerial damage assessment and tracking and detection capabilities. Immigration processes are being expedited and an enormous amount of resources will be deployed to southern Florida to help storm victims from the Bahamas enter the country legally and quickly. The Coast Guard came in quickly behind the storm to provide immediate support, enacting its mutual aid agreement with the Bahamas to assist with search and rescue missions, involving 134 air sortie missions, culminating in over 300 lives saved or assisted. Our Coast Guard currently has five cutters and five MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the Bahamas.
I want to thank all of the men and women of DHS for their hard work and dedication to save lives and help people recover and rebuild. I’m extremely grateful for your sacrifice and commitment. Your tireless acts have had a tremendous effect on those who relied on you the most – in what may have been their greatest hour of need. Thank you for all you do to preserve life and our homeland.
Kevin K. McAleenan, Acting Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.