Dakota Dunes, S.D. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to provide support to the state of South Dakota in response to massive flooding. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announcement that federal disaster aid was made available on May 13, and CBP is operating under Emergency Support Function #13 which is tasked to assist federal, state, local, and tribal entities in safety and security matters when requested by the federal, state or tribal government.
The 46-person response team from CBP which has now been operational for eight days has already put in 4,400 hours to assist the local sheriff's departments in Dakota Dunes and Pierre, S.D. U.S. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers continue to assist the sheriff with regular law enforcement patrols along the hardest hit areas affected by the floods. Border Patrol agents are also utilizing ATVs to get to the hardest-hit areas that are not accessible by 4x4 vehicles.
In one incident, on June 14, two Border Patrol agents were first responders to the scene of a horse accident. A 40-year-old Stanley County woman was thrown from her horse and lacerated her throat. Supervisory Border Patrol Agents Robert Noziska and Ray Mandel, of the Border Patrol's Border Search Trauma and Rescue unit, were the first medics on scene in Fort Pierre, S.D. Noziska provided on scene first aid until paramedics arrived. The injured woman was transported to the hospital and her condition is unknown.
"We are glad that we are one of the teams that helps FEMA bring the full force of the federal government to assist in the flood fighting efforts for the state and the people of South Dakota," said Peter Taranto, program manager for the CBP joint operations directorate.
The emergency declaration which CBP is working under provides direct federal assistance for emergency measures to save lives and protect property. Under the declaration, FEMA has brought in other federal agencies to perform several emergency support functions. As the lead agency for public safety and security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has assigned CBP to help conduct wellness checks, rescue operations and other services as requested by the state.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.