NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk based U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort will return for another deployment to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean mid-June.
The ship will begin a five-month medical assistance mission as a result of the humanitarian crisis created by the ongoing political and economic instability in Venezuela.
Comfort medical teams will pull in to Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago for working port visits.
“This deployment responds directly to the man-made crisis Maduro’s regime has created,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. “Comfort medical teams will be working alongside host nation medical professionals who are absorbing thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The Venezuelan people are desperately fleeing their homeland for hope of a better way of life. We are committed to finding ways to support the Venezuelan people and our regional partners who share the goal of seeing a legitimate, democratic government reinstated in Venezuela.”
Comfort completed its sixth deployment from October to December 2018, an 11-week deployment for medical support to Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, helping more than 26,700 patients in need, including 599 on board surgeries.
This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007. The medical teams will provide care on board and at land-based medical sites, which helps to relieve pressure on national medical systems strained partly by an increase in cross-border migrants.