Cobb’s Dobbins air base serving as medical hub for Maria victims

5:57 p.m Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 Cobb County

Many in the Caribbean are putting their lives back together mostly without electricity after Hurricane Maria took that and much more. But there’s an added struggle on an island in the dark for those who require dialysis treatments.

About 70 victims, many dialysis-dependent, were brought from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta over the weekend, said base spokesman James Branch.

They were brought to Dobbins so they could be sent to Emory’s dialysis centers, he said.

Aid begins to flow to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico

Donald Peek/U.S. Air Force
A Department of Health and Human Services employee throws a cargo net over a pallet at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on Sept. 21, 2017. This cargo included items needed to build a hospital from scratch — everything from the tents required to house the temporary structure to the medical equipment used to treat patients.

With Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands ravaged by back-to-back monster storms, the base is serving as the federal waypoint for supplies and victims.

Crews in Marietta have also been packaging everything needed to build a hospital from scratch, including tents to use to treat people as the islands rebuild.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has stopped over to stock up on vehicles and equipment for search-and-rescue missions.

Branch said it has been a busy month. “We’ve been going since Irma,” he said.

Official: Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades

“Dobbins is strategically located to serve as an installation support base for disaster relief in the Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean,” said Col. Marty Hughes, commander of the Marietta-based 94th Mission Support Group.

Engineers from Dobbins and supplies headed to the reserve base in Homestead, Florida, which was damaged by Irma.

“Those guys at Dobbins have been working pretty hard to get those supplies loaded,” said Capt. Bernie Kale, an Air Force spokesman from Delaware who said he’d be in Florida a month helping the base repair.

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