COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Members of various teams throughout the vast Texas A&M University System were deployed Monday and in previous days to aid in disaster relief and to help ensure the safety of people, pets and livestock.
Members of the Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Task Force 1, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team are among the personnel from the A&M System to head into the disaster zone, Chancellor John Sharp said Monday.
“The Texas A&M University System stands ready to help in any way,” Chancellor Sharp said.
Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue, which is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, will be moving two 70-person teams from the Corpus Christi area into the Brazos River/Fort Bend County area to assist with evacuations.
Twenty-five members of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team also have joined the effort and were dispatched to Fort Bend to help pets who have been injured, abandoned or displaced due to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey and the epic rainfall that followed. The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team also continues to care for search-and rescue dogs from Texas Task Force 1.
The first deployment of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team came in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, as a four-member team set out for Robstown, near Hurricane Harvey’s landfall. A second group of 21 Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team members left on Sunday for Aransas Pass, also near the hurricane’s initial impact zone. To aid Texas animals of all varieties, the team brought a medical platform, a refrigerated pharmacy truck, water, food, tents, generators, a forklift and a trailer with a decontamination unit.
Also, the Texas A&M Forest Service has mobilized 168 emergency responders, 43 Texas all-hazard incident management team members and 199 Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System responders. They are currently positioned in Victoria, Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Rockport, Refugio, Pierce, Texas City, Lufkin, Austin, Houston, Galveston, Richmond, Fort Bend, Ford Park, Garland, Woodsboro and Bryan-College Station. Several other states, including Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina and New York, have sent teams to help Texas A&M Forest Service with response.
Since Friday, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has deployed 141 Extension Agents across 61 counties to address need pertaining to public information and livestock response. Further, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock specialists remain on standby to assess agricultural damages and animal issues in the impact zones.
The Texas A&M University System also has offered to help the U.S. Air Force. With airports in Houston full or flooded, the Air Force has indicated that it would like to set up at the System-owned Easterwood Airport in College Station.
Also, Gov. Greg Abbott has executed an interstate agreement to bring in more boats into the affected areas. Marine equipment is set to be staged on Texas A&M University System land in College Station.
“This is another way A&M is helping,” Chancellor Sharp said.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.55 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 148,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
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