Ten hurricanes ripped through the Atlantic Ocean this year, hurtling through parts of the US and the Caribbean and thrashing islands in their path, including Barbuda and Puerto Rico. One storm even veered as far east as Ireland -- underscoring how bizarre this hurricane season was. Moreover, a trio of major hurricanes hit US soil, in what could be the most expensive hurricane season in US history, with damage estimates of $475 billion. Harvey in Texas; Irma in the Caribbean and the southeastern U.S.; and Maria in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NOAA), the 2017 season was hyperactive, deadly, and extremely destructive featuring the highest number of major hurricanes since 2005.
To put things into perspective and understand the devastating effect of a hurricane, we must remember Katrina, a category 3 hurricane hitting New Orleans in 2005 with a catastrophic aftermath that shocked the world.
In late August of this year, Harvey, a category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph (215 km/h) became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the state of Texas, leaving more than 300,000 people throughout the state without electricity and billions of dollars in property damages. While in early September Irma, a category 5 hurricane, had sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h) resulted in the most potent Atlantic storm on record to have had winds that intense for 37 consecutive hours. In the aftermath of Irma, the islands of Barbuda and Saint Martin were described by local government officials, as being "95% destroyed" leaving people homeless and in fear.
Two weeks later, Maria followed Irma, reaching Category 5 in strength with winds of 175 mph (280 km/h). Hurricane Maria was regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
The resulting disasters due to the passing of these deadly hurricanes have left millions of civilians of the Caribbean and US homeless, injured, with no power and no drinking water, uncommunicated and in a desperate condition that will take months or years to be restored.
In late October, the management staff of the USA Office traveled to New York to meet high profile people, and with the objective of capturing opportunities to offer IC Corporation’s solutions which could significantly help Puerto Rico and Caribbean Islands. The committee that traveled was composed by Reynaldo Suarez, Alejandro Auma, Ingrid Freeland, and Jose A. Heras.
Some of the meetings took place in the heart of The Bronx, where we had the honor to meet two New York State Assemblymen, Mr. Marcos Crespo and Luis Sepulveda who were born in Puerto Rico and represented their fellow people in the Bronx district. As we entered their offices, the walls were covered with packs of bottled water and canned food ready to be sent to the Island. It was easy to sense that they are dedicating all their efforts and resources to help people in these desperate hours.
Also, another important meeting took place with the Vice-President of the Hispanic Federation, Ms. Carolyn Martinez, a highly recognized non-profit t organization that among other fundraising activities, advocates helping the Latinos and Hispanic communities in the United States.
The New York trip concluded with two meetings where we met with the Consul of Ecuador, Ms. Linda Machuca and later in the day we also met with the Vice President of Economic Developments of Ecuador, in New York. Although these meetings with Ecuador’s representatives were not related to Puerto Rico and Caribbean Islands hurricane relief, it was an excellent opportunity to introduce our Organization and present our IC4S turnkey solutions. Our objective was to create new relationships that could widen our South American market, and possibly establish a business opportunity in the near future.
In conclusion, the Management team has opened a few new doors in the public and political spheres. We can proudly confirm that the IC4S Solutions were a hit among the public figures we’ve met, and they were impressed after each presentation.
Whether we will be successful “in a New York minute” or not, is still too early to say. We must keep pursuing these meeting opportunities with political influence, or any event that is tightly related to the reconstruction of the Caribbean Islands.