It was in early September that Hurricane Irma tore through Puerto Rico destroying much of the island. Before that Hurricanes Harvey and Maria hit Texas and Florida causing massive damage.
Omaha Director of Public Affairs Tom O’Hara is currently in Puerto Rico serving with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where he is the liaison to FEMA’s Internal Affairs Team. He says many members from Nebraska remain hard at work helping to make much needed repairs.
O’Hara says, “I think we have 70-plus currently deployed here in Puerto Rico, in the Virgin Islands and some still probably finishing up hurricane response actions in Texas and Florida. Since the start of the barrage of hurricanes that has hit parts of the southern part of the United States going back to Harvey, Irma and Maria, we have had a steady stream of about four to six dozen folks deployed from Omaha specifically and that is part of the overall.”
O’Hara says what has been under communicated is the magnitude of damage that happened in Puerto Rico. He says have been subtle chances made in cities and remote areas but they have a long way to go before things are close to back to normal.
O’Hara says the current team is wrapping up their 30 day deployment and will be relieved by new members later this week. He says their priority remains in temporary power restoration to residents and then replace that with permanent repairs.
Teams from Nebraska continue to clear debris from roads, make temporary roofing repairs and continue to assess infrastructure across the region.