Reports from Puerto Rico throughout the week have suggested that Hurricane Maria recovery efforts have provided less than the amount of relief sent after other storms. But some Texas first responders were deployed to the island before the storm even hit.
Texas Task Force 1 is comprised of hundreds of firefighters, doctors, nurses and other professionals trained to execute search and rescue missions following local and national disasters. Jeff Saunders, director of the task force, says that some members who had helped in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts were deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in Hurricane Irma relief and were there before Maria reached the island.
Saunders says that Maria’s aftermath closely resembles the situation after Harvey, with much of the island’s lower east and west sides recovering from heavy flooding. However, he says far more people were affected by Harvey than were affected by Maria. Reports that the island has not received relief aid are disappointing, he says, given the amount of aid the task force has already provided.
“Often times, our mission is overlooked by the longer and more difficult recovery process,” he says. “Very few people will ever know that we were there.”
Written by Rachel Zein.