US to send hospital ship to Colombia amid refugee crisis

August 17, 2018 - 7:45 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the Pentagon will send a hospital ship to Colombia to help cope with strains on medical systems caused by the Venezuelan refugee crisis.

Mattis says Colombian President Ivan Duque embraced the proposal during talks Friday morning in Bogota.

Some details of the plan for dispatching the USNS Comfort from Norfolk, Virginia, have not yet been worked out. Mattis says the ship probably will visit other South American countries also feeling the effects of the refugee problem. He is declining to give a timetable.

Mattis returned Friday from a weeklong tour that took him to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

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