Illinois National Guard troops head to Puerto Rico to join Hurricane Maria relief effort

PUERTO RICO-- Hundreds of members of the Illinois national guard will join the relief effort in Puerto Rico, nearly two months after Hurricane Maria first hit the island.

Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Illinois) joined other members of the National Guard to make the announcement today. More than 150 troops are on their way, and Rauner says another 300 are ready, if Puerto Rico needs them.

Half of the island is still without power, six weeks after the storm.

Illinois National Guard members are trained to help keep order while people try to piece their lives back together. They will join the 60 members of the Illinois Air National Guard already in Puerto Rico.

No timetable has been set for how long the troops will stay or when they'll return.

Puerto Rico has agreed to reimburse Illinois for the nearly $1 million it will cost to deploy the troops.

24 members of the Iowa National Guard have been stationed in Puerto Rico since September, when the hurricane hit the island.