Fargo, N.D. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection has joined the flood response efforts after the Federal Emergency Management Agency announcement that federal disaster aid was made available to North Dakota to supplement the state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by flooding beginning on April 5.
To help support this effort, CBP has deployed a 23-person response team to help support the recovery efforts in the Red River Valley. Assisting in the recovery efforts are Border Patrol agents from the Grand Forks, Detroit and Havre sectors and CBP officers from the Seattle field office, which oversees the upper plains states. Also assisting is the CBP headquarters Joint Operations Directorate.
Within hours of arriving in Fargo, officers and agents from CBP were sworn in and deputized as Cass County deputies by Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney. This allows CBP personnel the legal authority to work as law enforcement officers in Cass County.
The agents and officers participating in this year's floods will be assisting with mapping out and documenting populated areas that are affected by the floods. They will also be assisting with patrols to check on the welfare of citizens and emergency response.
This also marks the third year CBP has deployed the unmanned aerial systems to provide imagery around the Red River Valley area to the National Weather Service. This year's flights began March 25.
The aircraft, flown from the National Air Security Operations Center-Grand Forks is now providing synthetic aperture radar imagery and electro-optical imagery. The imagery provides a critical piece for the forecasters at the river forecast center to make accurate assessments of flooding that the response efforts rely on. These flights are flown in conjunction with normal operations.
The president's action in declaring a federal emergency authorizes the FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Barnes, Cass, Richland, and Traill counties.
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.