Virginia Task Force 2 returns from Puerto Rico after disaster response

After three weeks on the ground assisting in the recovery of two hurricanes, the Virginia Beach-based Urban Search and Rescue Team Virginia Task Force 2 (VA-TF2) returned home from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands overnight.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- After three weeks on the ground assisting in the recovery of two hurricanes, the Virginia Beach-based Urban Search and Rescue Team Virginia Task Force 2 (VA-TF2) returned home from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands overnight.

VA-TF2 sheltered in place as a Category 4 Hurricane Maria made landfall on the U.S. territory on September 20. After the storm passed, the team immediately went to work removing large obstructions and trees.

The next day, VA-TF2 was operational in several heavily damaged areas in Puerto Rico, rescuing and removing civillians who were trapped by high flood waters. 

Officials say that despite the challenges created by the flood waters and mountanous terrain, crews visited 2,311 structures, assisted 51 citizens, evacuated 18 individuals, rescued 3 others, and identified 60 roads that were blocked.

Additionally, VA-TF2's structural engineers assessed and surveyed a dam in the northwest part of the island to determine degradation and potential for failure, as flood waters threatened the integrity of the structure and the safety of many people depending on the dam to hold back the rising water.

The 80 members of VA-TF 2 arrived back in Hampton Roads late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, after the demobilization process was completed and other federal task forces were brought in to relieve them. 

PHOTOS: VA-TF 2 rescue survivors in badly flooded parts of Puerto Rico

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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