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Arizona National Guard to travel to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief efforts


PHOENIX — Several members from the Arizona National Guard traveled to Puerto Rico on Friday to help with cleanup and relief efforts from Hurricane Maria.

In a tweet on Friday, the 162nd Wing, the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter pilot training unit, tweeted that three personnel support airmen from the Arizona National Guard left for Puerto Rico.

“We are proud to assist with hurricane relief efforts!” part of the tweet read.

Puerto Rico and its residents have been devastated by a pair of hurricanes — Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma — that tore through the island in recent weeks.

At least 16 people in Puerto Rico have been killed since Hurricane Maria swept through the island last week, shortly after Hurricane Irma skirted the island earlier this month.

RELATED: How to donate to Puerto Rico 

The two storms have left the majority of Puerto Rico’s more than 3.4 million residents without food, water or power. Officials estimate that it could take up to six months for the power on the island to be fully restored.

Officials have ran into many roadblocks in attempts to deliver aid to the island. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act, prevents Puerto Rico from accepting foreign aid.

On Thursday, Sen. John McCain introduced legislation that would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act in an effort to get desperately needed supplies delivered to the island quicker and for a lesser cost.

Earlier this month, the Arizona Incident Management Team and Arizona Task Force One were deployed to Georgia and Florida to assist with hurricane relief after Hurricane Irma.

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