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Responding to Hurricanes Irma & Maria

Responding to Hurricanes Irma & Maria

2017 was a very active hurricane season with highly destructive storms across the US and its territories. The storms greatest impacts were rain and storm surge. Harvey was the first to make landfall in Texas on August 26 th , 2017. This was a category 4 hurricane at landfall and stalled out over Texas for four days with rainfall amounts in some areas surpassing 60 inches. Total projected cost for hurricane Harvey is $125 Billion, second only to Katrina.

Irma struck the USVI and Puerto Rico on September 6 th , 2017 as a Category 5 Hurricane. The devastation was immense. Infrastructure of the territories was virtually wiped out. Power grids were destroyed, roads and bridges were washed away, and thousands of people lost both their homes and their jobs. Once leaving the Caribbean, Irma moved towards Florida striking twice, once as a Category 4 in the Florida Keys and then again on the mainland as a Category 3 on September 10 th . Cost $50 Billion. 5 th Most costly storm in US history.

Fourteen days later, on September 20 th , the USVIs and Puerto Rico were struck again by a category 5 hurricane. The hurricane was a Category 5 as the outer bands began to impact the islands but downgraded to a Category 4 at landfall. With the islands still in total disrepair from hurricane Irma, hurricane Maria destroyed any recovery efforts previously gained. One of the greatest fears for the people who remained on the islands after hurricane Irma, was where was it safe to “ride out the storm?”. Maria’s projected costs $90 Billion third most costly US Storm. If you combine the costs of Irma and Maria, this would place the costs second to none in the list of most expensive storms to hit the US.

Florida requested a team of nurses to assist with one of their medical needs shelters in the devasted eastern side of the state. R-S-I sent a team that managed the patients and the eventual closing of the shelter, then were redeployed to the State warehouse to assist in counting, cleaning, and restocking he States medical supplies. Next, R-S-I deployed teams to Puerto Rico to manage a special needs shelter for 29 days. Nearly 100 responders were deployed with skills sets ranging from physician, pharmacist, nurses, and EMS providers. At the same time we also deployed pharmacists to St. Croix, USVI for 30 days to assist with establishing and managing large caches of donated pharmaceuticals. St. Thomas of the USVI was hit extremely hard. Shortly after he storms were over and the recovery began, the hospital found that 70% of their staff had left the island. R-S-I was requested to supplement their nursing staff with R-S-I nurses. Although the initial deployment was only scheduled to last six week, R-S-I was requested to continue supporting the hospital and additional 3 months.