Credit: U.S. National Guard, photo by Cpl. Elizabeth Scott

A contingent of soldiers from the Maryland National Guard are heading from Catonsville down to the Caribbean to assist with disaster relief.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s office announced today that 100 Maryland soldiers have been deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands to “assist with local law enforcement and guarding critical infrastructure.” The islands were slammed by two massive hurricanes in September, leaving the territory so devastated by flooding and other damage that it was almost unrecognizable via satellite. CNN reported Friday that St. John, one of the four main islands, has been without power for more than 40 days.

At the request of Virgin Islands President Governor Kenneth Mapp, Hogan has now offered up some of Maryland’s best to help restore the U.S. territory to livable shape. The soldiers are from the 200th Military Police Company in Baltimore County, and will replace a unit from the Kentucky National Guard. They could be there for up to 30 days, according to Hogan’s office.

“The recovery efforts in the Caribbean will be lengthy due to the level of destruction caused by the recent hurricanes, and Maryland is proud to help our neighbors and friends in their time of need,” the governor said in a statement.

Last week, the governor’s office authorized a deployment of a group of Maryland National Guard members who are now helping to purify water in Puerto Rico, which is also in terrible shape due to hurricane season. They’re busy converting hazardous water into the kind that people desperately need — usable for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene — with a pair of units that can purify up to 1,200 gallons per hour. They could be there for up to two months.

The Virgin Islands’ emergency management agency said via Facebook today that it’s now set up three disaster centers for survivors of the two hurricanes. Stateside, FEMA is collecting donations of cash or vital supplies to be sent down to those in need. Click here if you’d like to donate.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...