The nearly 50 migrants who were airlifted to Massachusetts by the governor of Florida have been moved to the Cape Cod military base that the Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has designated as a shelter, according to a press release issued by the state’s governor, Charlie Baker.
The state administration has indicated that MEMA is “coordinating efforts” between state and local officials to ensure access to food, shelter and essential services for these men, women and children. The governor has also proposed to mobilize 125 National Guard agents to provide this assistance.
The brief emphasizes that although Martha’s Vineyard Island residents have mobilized to provide temporary shelter for these migrants, they did not have the necessary means.
“Island communities are not equipped to provide sustainable shelter and state officials have developed a plan to provide a comprehensive humanitarian response,” they have noted.
Transportation to the base has been offered free of charge and on a voluntary basis. The space has been used before to house displaced persons, such as Louisiana residents fleeing the impact of Hurricane Katrina or Massachusetts residents infected with COVID-19.
Officials believe that this shelter provides appropriate space for the “specific needs of people and individuals” by allowing areas for legal services and basic medical care.
“While Wednesday’s arrival on Martha’s Vineyard was unexpected, the extraordinary response was not,” said Terrence Reidy, secretary of Public Safety. “The work of so many state and local partners exemplifies the best values of our Commonwealth, providing safe shelter, food and care to people who have been through a long and harrowing journey.”
The assistance, they have assured, has a comprehensive approach that includes shelter, clothing and hygiene equipment, nutrition, needs assessment, access to medical care, mental health and crisis counseling services. In addition, the base will have interpreters so that migrants can access services in their native language.