United States Southern Command team joins victim assistance efforts in Panama

Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

Joint Task Force Bravo (FTC-Bravo) of the United States Southern Command sent a team of 42 people, and three helicopters to support the government in the search, rescue and evacuation of communities affected by the collateral impact of storm Eta.

Colonel John D. Litchfield said that as partners of Panama they join the country in "a time of need" to save lives in the middle of the disaster..

"We are determined to save as many lives as we can", stated the commander of JTF-Bravo, as explained by the United States Embassy in Panama.

The JTF-Bravo team arrived in David today from where it will work in close coordination with the National Civil Protection System and the National Air Naval Service to serve the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, and the indigenous Ngabe-Buglé region.

The operation, which will include three helicopters, un UH-60 Black Hawk y dos CH-47 Chinooks, will bring humanitarian assistance to the Cerro Punta areas, Soloy, and to the Central Cordillera from Los Planes to Fortuna, in addition to the Quijada del Diablo region, in the indigenous region.

Last year the team carried out a humanitarian mission in Panama called "Mercurio", which included assistance to health centers and schools in areas of difficult access in the province of Darién on the border with Colombia, in addition to training for the security and relief entities to deal with eventual disasters.

Panama confirmed on Friday 8 deaths in the province of Chiriquí as a result of the floods and landslides caused by the rains that affect the country due to a combined action between the collateral impact of storm Eta, and the rainy season.

Chiriquí is the province most affected by the rains where more than 2,063 affected, destruction of public infrastructure, and harvests.

Security Minister, Juan Pino said that in the area "68 people not located" were reported in areas where the entry of rescuers has been complicated as a result of the disaster..