SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) — A team of California disaster experts left for Puerto Rico Sunday, sent by Gov. Gavin Newsom to assist the island following a string of strong earthquakes.

The team of 31 disaster response specialists in emergency management, engineering, safety assessment and debris removal will spend two weeks in Puerto Rico, hoping to stabilize what has been a precarious situation.

“We’re ready to go,” said Grady Joseph with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES). “We do this in California. We’ve had a very busy disaster season the last few years. So, these are the best of the best professionals going out there. And we’re ready to help.”

Cal OES deputy director Eric Lamoreux said the team’s safety while working there is “paramount.”

“We’re heading to an area where there is a significant number of aftershocks occurring every day,” Lamoreux said. The team will work with officials in San Juan.

The island is reeling from a series of strong earthquakes. More than 2,000 people are in shelters and nearly a million are without power. Hundreds of thousands lack clean, running, drinkable water.

Cal OES team flew out of Sacramento on Sunday and they said they will do what they can in the face of enormous need.

“We got a pretty good understanding of the threat out there. Obviously, there’s still ongoing aftershocks. So, that’s always going to be a concern. But this is California; we’re used to earthquakes. We’ve dealt with that in the past. We’re bringing that experience to bear,” Joseph said.

 

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