Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday sent a letter to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green urging him to request that the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Comfort be repositioned to the Bahamas as soon as possible, as well as any assets needed from the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group.
“This past Friday, I traveled to the Bahamas and witnessed the destruction of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. The devastation left behind on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands will certainly require the United States and the international community to provide strong support and assistance to aid them in their recovery,” Rubio wrote.
“There remains an immediate need for medical attention and communications, however, accessibility and resources are limited, and a lack of electricity continues to plague recovery efforts. Vertical-lift of those who are injured and require treatment by trained professionals is the only solution until debris is cleared and on-shore resources can be stood up,” he continued. “The USNS Comfort, and its crew of trained medical staff, flight deck and ability to desalinate water, would be ideal in helping the Bahamian people. While it is currently assigned to U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility, the USNS Comfort, if requested, could be reassigned to the Bahamas and provide short-term medical treatment as runways and ports come back online. Additionally, the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group, already in the area, has ships that are also capable of providing air lift and medical support.”
“It is critical that during this time of need for our neighbors, the United States uses all of our capabilities to continue to assist in the recovery efforts. This includes urgent efforts to save lives. As such, I respectfully implore you to strongly consider a formal request for the USNS Comfort to be repositioned to the Bahamas as soon as possible, as well as any assets needed from the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group. I stand ready to work with you as we help the Bahamas recover from this deadly storm.”