Christie Orders NJ Group Deployed to Help With Harvey Efforts in Texas
TRENTON — As Hurricane Harvey continues to pummel Texas Gov. Chris Christie announced on Sunday night that he is deploying a specialized team to help in cleanup and recover efforts.
The governor said NJ Task Force 1 has been called up to help as part of the National Urban Search & Rescue Response System.
"What was requested of us was a water rescue mission ready package. It's a 20 person team traveling by convoy. Originally it was supposed to be to San Antonio but they're being diverted to Katy, Texas," NJ Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Laura Connolly told New Jersey 101.5.
Connolly said their final destination could change as the situation evolves. They could also be met by a plane at some point on their trip and be airlifted to Texas.
At least one more specialized team could be deployed to Texas if needed, according to Connolly.
"This is definitely a storm that is evolving and is causing catastrophic damage to the people of Texas. As we go through this week we could be called upon to send additional resources," Connolly said.
"As Americans, we come together during times nof crisis and today New Jersey's heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas at this very difficult time," Christie said. "During Superstorm Sandy, emergency and law enforcement response contingents from around the country came to our aid. New Jersey stands ready to assist Texas with their search and rescue response to the destruction and devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey and the recovery process.
The damage already caused by Harvey has already affected the team's deployment to Texas. According to Christie the group was expected to arrive in San Antonio on Monday. However, with roads around that city already deemed "impassable" Christie said they will now be sent to Katy, Texas.
Task Force 1 has been deployed around the state several times to help, including the Passaic County Floods, as well as Hurricane Irene which happened six years ago Sunday. Most recently they were sent to North Carolina to help in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
The Task Force took part in a massive training exercise earlier this year on the Lakehurst side of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to help fine tune their search and rescue skills.
The American Red Cross' New Jersey chapter sent five additional volunteers on Sunday bringing the total number of New Jersey volunteers to 17, according to spokeswoman Diane Concannon.
Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com