NORFOLK, Va. — A U.S. Navy hospital ship has returned home after its crew treated thousands of people in Central and South America, including migrants who fled crisis-wracked Venezuela.

Kevin Buckley, the commanding officer for medical operations on the USNS Comfort, said Tuesday that 26,000 people were treated for anything from hernias to cataracts.

Buckley spoke on a pier at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia where the Comfort is based.

The 11-week mission stopped in countries that included Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Those nations are home to hundreds of thousands of struggling Venezuelans.

Many are desperately seeking health care and fled Venezuela because of a lack of access to doctors and medicine. A recent report estimated 20,000 doctors have left Venezuela since 2012.

The Comfort also visited the Central American country of Honduras.

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