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Southcom Speeds Medications to Brazil for Nightclub Victims

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2013 – Medication to treat victims suffering from the tragic Jan. 27 nightclub fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, funded by and transported through coordination by U.S. Southern Command, are scheduled to arrive in Brasilia today, Southcom officials reported.

Southcom partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, the Brazilian Ministry of Health, American Airlines, Miami Dade Aviation and the Transportation Security Administration to secure the rapid transport of the medication, officials said.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health submitted a request to the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia for 140 doses of the drug Cyanokit to treat victims exposed to cyanide poison when the fire ignited acoustic foam insulation inside the club, they said.

Southcom, in turn, worked with the Defense Logistics Agency to secure the medication under an existing contract with Meridian Medical Technologies. The command used funds from its humanitarian assistance program to pay for the drugs, valued at more than $97,000, officials said.

Southcom also coordinated transport of the medication from St. Louis to Brazil via Miami by working closely with Miami Dade Aviation, TSA and American Airlines. The drugs are scheduled to arrive today aboard an American Airlines flight. In Brasilia, they will be turned over to local health ministry officials to immediately distribute to health care facilities treating victims exposed to the poison, officials said.

The command is one of six geographically focused, unified commands within the Defense Department. It is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. 

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