The ship will provide medical services to South America, Central America and the Caribbean, and especially to the areas hosting millions of Venezuelan refugees fleeing the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.
As the US Department of Defense said, millions of Venezuelans have fled the country, while neighbouring countries are struggling to provide services for them. The USNS Comfort aims to help with the effort.
The US has provided more than $256 million to the region in humanitarian and development assistance, but more will be needed as the country suffers through violence, economic insecurity, hyperinflation, and shortages of food, medicines and essential services. In fact, United Nations officials estimate that over 3 million people have fled the nation.
The USNS Comfort will visit a number of countries in the region, after returning from a deployment to the region in December.
The Comfort is a floating full-service hospital. It is crewed by civilian mariners of the Military Sealift Command. The medical staff comes from Navy hospitals across the US. They will be helped by specialists from other services and by medics from non-governmental organizations.