(CNN) — The Puerto Rico National Guard (GNPR) announced the start of engineering and reconstruction projects for some structures at Camp Santiago in the municipality of Salinas, in the south of the island.
Camp Santiago began operations in 1940 and serves as a military training site for the Puerto Rico National Guard, the Air National Guard, the US-PR Army Reserves, and various federal and state security agencies. Currently, it has over 12,789 acres of land and close to 300 buildings, and provides different resources to carry out any type of military or civilian training.
According to a press release, “the works will have an investment of US$ 299.7 million from federal funds designated for military construction.” It is estimated that the works are completed in five years.
“In 2017, Hurricane María affected the entire island of Puerto Rico and military installations were no exception. Many of our preparation centers suffered serious damage, but the Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Center was the most affected of all,” said General of the United States National Guard Bureau, Daniel Hokanson, in written statements.
During the Hurricane Maria emergency in 2017, the GNPR coordinated over 23 search and rescue missions, was in charge of cleaning 12,000 kilometers of highway, purified and distributed 200,000 gallons of water daily, and was in charge of distributing over 100 million bottles of water and more than 50 million pounds of food across the entire island. In the 2020 earthquakes, they established five camps in the municipalities of Ponce, Peñuelas, Guayanilla, Yauco and Guánica to house 10,000 people and provided medical care.
The GNPR reported that the projects will be carried out by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Among the missions that Camp Santiago has supported are Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1991), Operation Joint Endeavor (1994), Operation Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom from 2001 to 2022.
Additionally, Camp Santiago was at one point a transitory shelter for Cuban refugees during the Mariel Boatlift in 1981 and has housed Haitian immigrants. It served as a sports village for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Source: CNN Espanol