Government Prepares for Hurricane Rita's Landfall
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 21, 2005 In anticipation of the landfall of Hurricane Rita, nearly 2,000 National Guardsmen in Texas are on state active duty and the governor has authorized the activation of up to 5,000 of the more than 10,000 National Guardsmen currently available in the state, defense officials reported today.
Additionally, Texas guardsmen serving in Louisiana are returning to Texas in anticipation of the storm as other units assume their Katrina missions, and the Air National Guard has relocated several of its aircraft from Houston to Austin as a precautionary measure.
About 1,500 guardsmen already are on duty in response to Rita throughout southern Florida, where the storm made a brush-by pass Sept. 20, and another 2,000 remain on stand-by.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies are preparing for Rita by pre-positioning supplies and commodities in the surrounding affected areas and potential landfall areas of the storm. Fifty truckloads of water and ice and 20 truckloads of military field rations have been delivered to federal facilities in Florida. Forty-five truckloads of water, 45 truckloads of ice and eight truckloads of meals are being staged in Texas.
Urban search-and-rescue task forces and disaster medical-assistance teams are pre-staging in Texas, and the U.S. Coast Guard is ready with helicopters from Air Station Houston and Air Station Corpus Christi.
Meanwhile, the federal government continues its contributions to relief efforts for the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. There are 54,426 military personnel on the ground or aboard ships supporting relief operations -- 13,305 active duty and 39,037 National Guard. Ten ships, 144 helicopters and 45 airplanes are in the area. Mortuary affairs teams from the 54th Quartermaster Company are in New Orleans operating from the Convention Center, and the Army Corps of Engineers reports that 80 percent of the city is dry.