PRNG engineers mobilized to assist recovery effort in Louisiana
By John McPhaul
Engineers specializing in bridges, belonging to the 190th Engineering Battalion of the Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG), mobilized Thursday to the state of Louisiana in support of the recovery work after the passage of Hurricane Ida late last month.
On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia signed an executive order to activate and make use of PRNG personnel and equipment to address the emergency situation in Louisiana. Through the order, he also delegated to the PRNG adjutant general the power to determine the units and troops that will activate.
“The Puerto Rico National Guard is responding to the request for support from the state of Louisiana, just as we did 16 years ago, after Hurricane Katrina,” said PRNG Adj. Gen. José J. Reyes. “On this occasion, 43 engineers will be collaborating in assessing the damage to the state’s bridges and other impacted roads.”
Hurricane Ida, a category 4 storm, damaged infrastructure and killed two people. It also left over a million people without electrical service in the impacted area.
“Hurricane Ida has been considered the second most devastating in the region after Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said PRNG Chief of Staff Col. Carlos G. Torres Febus. “The PRNG is responding in solidarity with the request for support in this situation. On that occasion, over 1,200 citizen-soldiers and airmen from our Guard participated in security, search and rescue, and normalization operations in that state. It is proper to offer our support, since we also received the support of 33 other National Guards after the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The adjutant general stressed that Puerto Rico is at the peak of the hurricane season in the Caribbean and cannot lower its guard.
“Now that we are at the peak of the hurricane season, we must not wait until the last minute to make the necessary preparations,” Reyes said. “Citizens must be responsible and take the proper precautions and preparations for the protection of their homes and families.”