Ships, aircraft and troops were promptly mobilized and deployed to the locations affected by the heavy rains in the northern coast of the State of São Paulo
By First Lieutenant (RM2-T) Vanessa Mendonça – São Sebastião, SPI
Immediately after the damage caused by the heavy rains on the northern coast of the State of São Paulo was confirmed, the Brazilian Navy (MB) mobilized to help the population of the region. On the morning of February 22, the Multipurpose Airship (NAM) “Atlântico” left the Navy Arsenal in Rio de Janeiro, with more than 1,000 military personnel, among them 180 Marines and 70 health professionals. The ship arrived at the port of São Sebastião-SP, one of the most affected areas, the next day (23).
The MB’s readiness to act in emergency situations made it possible, in coordination with the Civil Defense and the Municipal Health Secretariat, observing guidelines from the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Integration and Regional Development, to map the local needs for the best use of the capabilities brought by the ship.
In this context, to relieve the burden on public health units, a Campaign Hospital (HCamp) was set up on the ship, during the Rio-São Sebastião crossing, and another one in the Juquehy neighborhood, in the city of São Sebastião. Mobile medical assistance teams were also mobilized to attend to the homeless in Barra do Sahy. In all, more than 1,200 medical, dental, psychological and religious services were provided.
The operational capacity of the NAM Atlantic, the largest ship of the Brazilian Navy, together with the expeditionary and ready-to-use nature of the Marine Corps, made it possible to quickly take engineering equipment, machinery, and materials to provide humanitarian support. The use of the “binomial” ship and troops potentiated the efficient use of the Navy’s means and military personnel.
“It is important to emphasize the strategic importance of the Multipurpose Aircraft Ship ‘Atlântico’, which, with its air and troop transport capabilities, has proven to be essential to support these humanitarian aid and disaster remediation missions”, highlighted Rear-Admiral Marcelo Menezes Cardoso, Commander of the Task Force of Operation ‘Shelter by Sea’.
In parallel, the embarked aircraft were used for reconnaissance, transport of materials and technical teams, and aeromedical evacuation, totaling 100 hours of flight time.
The actions on land were carried out by military personnel from the Marine Operational Group in Support of Civil Defense. This group was created in 2011, after landslides in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro. It acts in situations of natural disasters and humanitarian actions and has a special roster scheme.
“During the summer, in the months of greatest historical concentration of rainfall, a rotation is made among the operational units of the Fleet Marine Force in which military personnel are assigned to be on standby to offer a quick response to this type of occurrence. Furthermore, at the Marine logistical battalion, all the necessary material is pre-stored in trucks, ready to be used to support the troops,” said Navy Captain Glaucio Rodrigues Junior, Commander of the 2nd contingent of the Marine Operational Group in Support of Civil Defense.
The result of the activities of GptOpFN was the clearance of 530 meters of public roads, with the removal of approximately 2,000 tons of debris, and the transport and delivery of 110 tons of donations.
For the population, the work done by the Brazilian Navy was fundamental for the reestablishment of the situation in the region. “We had many homeless and displaced people, and all the donations delivered, in addition to the medical assistance, greatly reduced the difficulties that the people were facing. We are very grateful for all this support,” said Sergio Ramos, resident of the city of São Sebastião.
Naval Power characteristics contributed to the success of the mission
During Operation “Shelter by the Sea” it was possible to observe some essential characteristics of the Navy: mobility, since a large number of military personnel and resources were promptly deployed from Rio de Janeiro to the northern coast of São Paulo; permanence, since the Navy kept more than 1. The Navy maintained more than 1,000 military personnel in the area of operation for more than 18 days; and versatility, with the largest warship of the Navy, the Multipurpose Aircraft Ship (NAM) “Atlântico”, quickly adapted to operate a Field Hospital with more than 200 beds, one day after leaving its base in Rio de Janeiro.
Source: Agência Marinha de Notícias *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI ***