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Guard Members in Three States Respond to Flooding

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Nov. 13, 2009 – More than 160 National Guard members in three states have responded to flooding caused by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ida today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Virginia National Guard soldiers drive a 5-ton truck through high waters Nov. 13, 2009, in Portsmouth, Va. Soldiers from the Virginia Guard Portsmouth assisted in the rescue of nine people, including a mother and her young daughter with a high fever, who was evacuated to Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Virginia National Guard photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey have called up Guard members to evacuate residents in high-water areas as well as provide cots, sandbags and potable water.

In Virginia, almost 100 Guardsmen have deployed high-water vehicles in support of the Portsmouth, Va., fire department.

The governor of New Jersey has declared a state of emergency for the Cape May and Atlantic counties due to flooding. The New Jersey National Guard has provided 18 Army Guardsmen with 10 5-ton trucks to help civilian authorities with evacuations, Guard officials reported.

About 40 members of the Delaware National Guard have provided support to civilian emergency relief agencies in Kent and Sussex counties.

On Nov. 12, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell placed 32 Army Guardsmen on state active duty. They reported to readiness centers in Georgetown, Seaford, Dagsboro, and Milford to serve as crew for 16 large M1078 trucks, known as light-medium tactical vehicles.

These four teams will provide a quick response if needed for evacuation or use by emergency personnel, Guard officials said.

According to Army 2nd Lt. Nathan Bright, a Delaware Guard spokesman, the Guard has so far:

-- Provided transport for a medical evacuation in the Oaks Orchard area;

-- Provided and transported 50 cots to the evacuation center in the Indian River area and 1,000 sandbags to affected communities; and

-- Prepared and staged seven 400-gallon water “buffalos” and a 4,000-gallon water tanker for distribution of potable water if needed after waters recede.

A second shift of 33 soldiers began processing at the readiness centers early this morning to relieve those activated last night, Bright said. All 65 soldiers will remain on alert in shifts.

The Delaware National Guard’s Joint Operations Center and military support directorate continue to coordinate with and assist the Delaware Emergency Management Agency in providing assistance to state and local agencies, Bright said.

The National Hurricane Center reports that the rain is fading along the mid-Atlantic coast. Flood warnings and advisories will remain in effect for portions of the central Gulf Coast, the southeastern United States and the Mid-Atlantic States.

(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

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