Press Release Article


Date: Sep 25, 2017
Press Release Number: 174-2017

Dozens of emergency responders will be part of extensive New York State team deployment announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to provide help in wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastating damage throughout the Commonwealth

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is readying to deploy a 70-member team of emergency personnel and support equipment to assist storm-damaged Puerto Rico in coordinated recovery efforts following massive devastation from Hurricane Maria.

Relief assistance from the Port Authority’s personnel will span a wide variety of recovery needs in the Commonwealth, including search-and-rescue operations, restoration of airport services and reestablishment of port commerce. The team will be entirely self-sufficient to preserve limited food supplies and other resources on the island for its residents.

Forty-five staffers from the Port Authority’s Aviation Department are poised to help counterparts at San Juan International Airport and other airfields resume full flight operations. Eleven employees of the agency’s Port Department will assist in damage assessments at the Port of San Juan to help get shipping commerce back in operation.

Port Authority Police will send 10 officers to the Commonwealth to provide search-and-rescue services, while also helping to support airport security initiatives as flights resume. The agency’s Office of Emergency Management also will send support equipment and four member of its staff to provide assistance.

"Our hearts go out to our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico as they recover from Hurricane Maria’s unprecedented damage in the Commonwealth," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. "This agency received help from numerous out-of-state emergency personnel teams in the wake of our own recovery from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and this deployment is a way for us to give back to others now in need.”

"The images from Puerto Rico are heartbreaking and we are proud to be part of Gov. Cuomo’s massive emergency response team to assist in the recovery," said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. "Our aviation, port, police and emergency management staff will bring a wealth of critical expertise in their fields to help their counterparts and residents in the Commonwealth as they recover from this tragic event.”

The Port Authority team’s deployment to Puerto Rico is part of Gov. Cuomo’s overall statewide Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort for the Commonwealth, which also includes a donation drive for nonperishable goods, coordination of business donations to local charities and efforts to provide medical supplies and personnel to the ravaged island.

Both the states of New York and New Jersey participate in a national framework for assistance under FEMA’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which works through the states to ensure vitally important coordination of resources. Both New York and New Jersey actively participate in this network. The Port Authority has pledged full and responsive engagement with requests that come to either or both states during emergencies throughout the nation.

Last month, the agency provided assistance to Texas in the wake of the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey that had several critical elements.

First, with respect to Hurricane Harvey, the Port Authority reiterated its readiness to participate in any requests for aid, leading to the agency’s Office of Emergency Management deployment of a first-responder team to assist in Texas as part of a larger New York State response contingent.

Second, and apart from the national and state efforts, the agency’s Port Department reached out to about a dozen port cities in Texas and Florida to offer on-the-ground assistance in recovery from severe flooding, based on best practices used here in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to get the region’s port terminals up and running. Port Authority officials provided substantial advice and guidance in helping the Port of Corpus Christi resume shipping operations, and continue to stand ready to assist any ports that seek guidance.

Third, the Port Authority’s Aviation Department independently launched the LaGuardia Airport Drive for Hurricane Harvey relief, with the focus on the collection of baby food and supplies, cleaning materials, toilet paper, personal hygiene products and flashlights.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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