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New York City Deploys 24 Additional Personnel to Puerto Rico to Assist in the Response to Recent Earthquakes

January 14, 2020

Fifteen building inspectors and structural engineers, seven emergency managers and two mental health professionals will support response operations in affected municipalities

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that New York City will deploy 24 additional City personnel to Puerto Rico to support the City of San Juan and affected municipalities including Guayanilla, Ponce, Peñuelas and Guánica in coordinating response operations following the recent earthquakes. The City’s response team consists of fifteen more building inspectors and engineers, bringing the total to sixteen, seven more emergency managers, bringing the total to nine, and two mental health professionals. The total number of city personnel who will be coordinating on the ground in Puerto Rico is now 28.

“Unlike the Trump Administration, New York City will always be there to support our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The pain experienced by our neighbors due to these disasters is weighing on the hearts and minds of all of us. Our expert team is dedicated to helping the island recover from the devastating effects of these earthquakes as quickly as possible.”

“New York City stands side by side with the people of Puerto Rico,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “We are sending an experienced group of dedicated professionals who are ready to do what they can to assist Puerto Rico in their recovery efforts.”

“The heart of New York City is with the people of Puerto Rico. We are sending an excellent team that is equipped with the skills and expertise to support the response efforts and help those who need us during this difficult time,” NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said.

“New Yorkers look out for each other and our neighbors,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “I am proud that sixteen of our hardworking inspectors and structural engineers stepped up to provide their counterparts in Puerto Rico with their experience and support during this disaster. It is an honor to bring our expertise to the people that need it most right now, as we help local officials determine the safety of buildings across the island.”

“The suffering in Puerto Rico is felt deeply in New York City,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “While we make Health Department staff available to the people of Puerto Rico, we know that the pain caused by these earthquakes is not confined to the island. Any New Yorker who needs help can call 888-NYC-WELL for free, confidential support, 24 hours a day.”

The New York City personnel are experienced in areas including structural stability inspections, logistics, planning, operations and mental health support. The City’s team was requested through City-to-City mutual aid agreements that facilitate disaster assistance. During the deployment, the team will work closely with the cities of San Juan, Guayanilla, Ponce, Peñuelas and Guánica to coordinate resources to assist with structural damage assessments and assess further need for mental health and counseling services.

This the second team to deploy to Puerto Rico in response to the recent earthquakes. A team of four personnel, one from NYPD, two from NYC Emergency Management, and one from the Department of Buildings, deployed on Thursday, January 9 to work closely with local officials to conduct assessments and identify additional resources following the earthquakes. Since their deployment, the team has conducted structural assessments, assisted with commodity distribution, and initiated additional forward-leaning logistics planning for needs in the affected communities.

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