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Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector Assisting In Hurricane Stricken Areas

EDINBURG, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are in the hurricane affected areas for search and rescue operations. News Center 23's Marlane Rodriguez spoke to border patrol officials about their efforts to save as many lives as possible.

U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Manuel Padilla Jr. said, "We were one of the few of the first responders to Rockport, and joined up with the local agencies there and just making sure that the rescues were first and foremost being done."

With just a week since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, officers and pilots have saved more than 1,300 lives. Border Patrol agents from the RGV Sector set up an emergency operations center to help their counterparts in Houston work more efficiently.

Chief Padilla, "What is happening here, what that person in Houston needs, as far as boats, personnel, helicopters, any capabilities that we can offer, we're packaging that capability and sending it over to Houston."

Currently, there are more than 300 agents assigned to search and rescue missions. Most are from the Rio Grande Valley. But their efforts are still far from over.

"What's happening right now, is that mission is going to be transitioning here very soon from a rescue mission, life-saving efforts, into a recovery mission. And that's what we're going to be assessing. What will be our role, if any, in the recovery efforts that are about to follow." said Chief Padilla

Aside from saving lives, agents have been transporting blood platelets, food, and vital supplies. CBP officials say they will continue to do so until the situation is under control.

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