WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District employees deployed Sunday, Feb. 4, to support Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) hurricane-recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, according to District emergency management officials.
A natural resource specialist, an electrical craftsworker and a power plant electrician -- all from the District’s Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, near Burbank, Washington -- will serve on the Corps’ Task Force Power Restoration as quality assurance specialists.
As assigned by FEMA, the Corps leads the federal effort to repair the hurricane-damaged electrical power grid in support of the Government of Puerto Rico. Working in partnership with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Department of Energy and FEMA, the Corps’ priority is to safely restore reliable power to the people of Puerto Rico as quickly as possible.
Puerto Rico has about 2,400 miles of transmission lines across the island and 30,000 miles of distribution lines with 300 sub-stations. It is estimated that 80 percent of the grid has been affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. As of Feb. 6, the Corps has 4,258 personnel on the ground, including 4027 contractors, working directly on distribution and transmission lines. About 71 percent (approximately 1.05 million) of the 1.47 million customers who are able to receive electric power have their service restored (as of Feb. 04).
Since late-August, about 90 hurricane-related deployment positions, nicknamed “taskers,” have been filled by Walla Walla District volunteers, supporting missions that provide emergency temporary power, manage storm debris disposal, assess damaged critical infrastructure, provide temporary housing and roofing, restore power grid capability and logistics-management services.
For more information about the Corps’ ongoing hurricane-response missions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Hurricane-Irma/