WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 3, 2008) -- Some 14,000 National Guard troops are actively supporting recovery efforts following Hurricane Gustav which hit Louisiana and New Orleans Sept. 1.
An additional 36,000 Soldiers and Airmen are ready to support civilian authorities and restore order in those areas if needed. Gustav left some 1.3 million power outages in its wake in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Gustav, now a tropical depression, came and went without the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina just three years ago. But while much of the United States turns it's eyes towards upcoming elections, the National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisiana and in other parts of the Gulf Coast remain focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.
Meanwhile, the Guard is monitoring three additional storms developing in the Atlantic region, including Hanna, Ike, and Josephine. Guard officials say they are prepared to respond accordingly when those storms hit land, and continue to provide support to areas affected by Hurricane Gustav.
In Louisiana, nearly 7,000 National Guard members are on the ground throughout the state, with around 1,900 providing support to local law enforcement in New Orleans.
Guardsmen in Louisiana continue to clear roads so emergency responders can access affected areas, monitor water levels and flood gates in New Orleans, and erect road blocks to keep vehicles out of low-lying, water-filled areas.
Hurricane Gustav has affected much of the Gulf of Mexico region. In Mississippi, some 1,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are on duty to support recovery efforts from the storm.
The Mississippi National Guard has established six distribution sites for water, ice, food and personal hygiene items, four of those sites are in Harrison County and two are in Hancock County there.
Special forces personnel in the state, conducting boat search and recovery missions, rescued four people in Hancock County. There, more than 100 homes were flooded and rescuers encountered numerous individuals who refused to leave.
Composite teams of military police and engineers are also present at the Emergency Operations Centers in the three coastal Mississippi counties to support evacuation, search and rescue missions and law enforcement authorities.
Other states along the coast, including Florida, Alabama and Texas continue to monitor upcoming storms in the region, and maintain ready forces to provide assistance and recovery efforts if needed.
The Army Corps of Engineers Corps commanders and emergency response teams worked together in advance of Hurricane Gustav to analyze, plan and carry out any actions necessary. The Corps' immediate attention was directed at monitoring the effects of the storm as it moved across Louisiana.
In New Orleans, the Corps ensured the flood control systems there functioned as designed.
Other Corps of Engineer teams operating in the region included those in Baton Rouge, La.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Port Allen, La.. Teams were also located in Rock Island, Ill.; St. Paul, Minn.; St. Louis, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Washington, D.C. The New Orleans district set up an alternate command post in Vicksburg, Miss.
As a result of Hurricane Gustav, local, state and federal teams demonstrated they can work together and accomplish critical missions for the citizens of Louisiana.
(The National Guard and the Corps of Engineers contributed to this story)