05 Aug 2019

US Navy sends USNS Comfort on medical mission to Costa Rica

The USNS Comfort will travel to Costa Rica as part of a medical mission to provide care for Venezuelan migrants.

The USNS Comfort hospital ship will provide care for migrants as part of a US Navy medical mission, aiming to relieve pressure on Costa Rican health services. The deployment forms part of the US Southern Command’s Enduring Promise Initiative which works towards building relationships with nations in the Carribean, South America, and Central America.

The team aboard the vessel includes 900 servicemen and women, non-governmental organisation volunteers, and medical specialists from partner nations. Medical staff have been screening surgical patients in the region since the start of July.

Gloria Berbena, U.S. Embassy San Jose Chargé d’Affaires said: “We are proud to work with Ambassador Faria and Costa Rica to provide Comfort medical services to Venezuelans, as well as Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans and others in need.”

Captain Brian J. Diebold, Commander of Task Force 49 said: “The Comfort isn’t just a symbol of American goodwill, it’s a symbol of goodwill of the Americas – neighbors helping neighbors. In the next week, this team of professionals from Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States will help many thousands of people, and we are all excited to make new friends.”

The visit to Puntarenas, Costa Rica, is the USNS Comfort’s second after a visit during Continuing Promise 2011. During that deployment, 7,000 patients were treated onboard the ship and at several medical sites in Puntarenas.

An opening ceremony marked the beginning of the USNS Comfort’s mission. It is expected that the crew aboard the ship will treat hundreds of patients during their stay in the region.

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