SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – South Carolina hospitals will soon be treating patients evacuated from the islands destroyed by Hurricane Maria.
According to a release from the Natural Disaster Medical System and the South Carolina Forestry Commission, military aircraft will bring patients to the Columbia airport, where they will then be transported to one of twelve regional hospitals.
It's not clear yet when the patients will arrive, but responders have been instructed to be ready to receive patients as soon as possible.
The United States Department of Defense's Federal Coordination Center and the SC Forestry Commission's Incident Management team are working together to receive these patients, as well as assess their injuries and track the patients.
According to the release, "NDMS is activated when an incident is so large that it overwhelms local agencies' ability to respond with sufficient medical aid."
This is the first time in United States history that a Department of Defense staffed FCC has been activated.
Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico as a category 4 earlier this month. As of September 6, 27 lives have been lost around the Caribbean, including at least 15 on Dominica. Haiti reported three deaths; Guadeloupe, two; and the Dominican Republic, one. Puerto Rico stands at 6.