The top U.S. general overseeing hurricane relief in Puerto Rico said the military will establish numerous hospitals there in coming days, as thousands of additional troops and dozens more helicopters arrive.
Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan described a mission that is still growing as the U.S. government grapples with an extended response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the U.S. island territory Sept. 20. Buchanan arrived Sept. 28 when there were about 4,100 U.S. troops involved in relief efforts on Puerto Rico, and said that number has more than doubled to 9,000, including about 4,000 members of the National Guard.
At least a "couple thousand" more troops will deploy from the mainland United States, Buchanan said. "What I want to do is max out the mobilizations of the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard on Puerto Rico," he said. "Because that enables us to, first of all, get these people to work, and you know, they know the communities and understand the language. They can be very, very helpful."