Good afternoon all. As we move further and further down our road to recovery and prepare ourselves to strengthen our island community, more robust and more resilient than ever before, I wanted to share with you a very positive and exciting development.

 

We’ve been able to engage a group of well-seasoned and globally respected experts in the field of disaster and emergency management. Collectively, they bring more than 200+ years of experience across the entire domain of preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. The composition of the team is impressive unto itself and we’ve had both face-to-face meetings with them as well as many weeks of conference calls to solidly confirm their qualifications.

 

They will be immediately providing the roadmap to our efforts, both short and long term. They will be providing a real and solid ground truth to what is needed now addressing critical operational priorities, such as debris removal, temporary power, waste and public health and the list goes on from there. As all know, not only has this been catastrophic and complex on so many levels, but it will take precise and experienced coordination, working collaboratively with and in support of NGOs, our government agencies and those in the private sector, to which many of whom have already raised a significant amount of relief funding. This group of professionals will immediately create a well-tested and standardized command and control environment which will include ‘all’ key stakeholders. It will be the most efficient way to enable and complement our on-and-off island efforts, as well as those at the highest level of our government partners. Not only do they bring the necessary subject matter and boots on the ground expertise, but it will be complemented by the latest state of the art technologies, used across the globe in disaster management, allowing us to leverage those that may be provided by NGOs and private sector organizations. And, most critically, it will provide real-time awareness of our efforts going forward. This is what we need; complete transparency, accurate information and above all progress! And suffice it to say, this group will also assist us identifying additional funding sources as time goes on, both public and private. 

 

Briefly, these internationally recognized emergency management and disaster recovery professionals and accompanying technologies have been rapidly deployed to and supported some of the, largest and most complex recovery efforts in the United States (US), including, but not limited to, the 9/11 terrorist attack on the WTC; the 2004 Florida Hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne); hurricanes Katrina and Rita; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; Hurricane Sandy; the 2017 winter floods and wildfires in California; Hurricane Maria; Hurricane Michael; and the Camp, Woolsey, Hill wildfires, the Typhoon in Chennai, India, the Tsunami in the Philippines, and numerous amounts of other disaster and crises on a domestic and international level. And, they are skilled at working closely with Emergency Operations Centers helping to transition the response operations into a recovery coordination operation; implementing disaster housing programs as needed, and helping even to manage the debris removal process, which is high on our list, working closely and collaboratively with those private and non-profit organizations, whose skill sets dictate their specialization. They’ve also developed rapid and actionable recovery plans following Hurricane Michael in Florida; managed a multi-billion dollar infrastructure recovery and resilience operations in Louisiana and New York as some prime examples. In addition, their clients include mission critical public, federal, state agencies and private organizations such as AMTRAK- the US National Commercial Railroad, DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, the City of New York, and have worked closely with boots on the ground command staff and responders on training, planning and exercising. They’ve also supported the development and implementation of mitigation and resilience projects across the USA and Caribbean in the aftermath of catastrophic loss. 

 

The list of folks on this team includes, but are by no means limited to a former Director of FEMA (Administrator); a Former Deputy Asst. Secretary for HUD; a former Director of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; a former Director of a US State Emergency Management Agency; a former VP of Emergency Programs for the international NGO, Americares, a former Director of Emergency Management and Subject Matter Expert for a Fortune 50 International Company and a few other supporting and impressive listing of team members. With a staff of talented analysts, consultants, project managers, experienced and professional practitioners, our road to recovery is not only in sight, but with their support and assistance, their efforts will have an immediate positive, productive and forward thinking impact on us now!

 

As terrible as this hurricane was, and as long lasting as its impact will be, this is also an opportunity for us, and our community, to rebuild bigger, smarter, and stronger than ever before. With the support of the professionals above, the global list of contacts they bring to bear, the endorsement of NGOs and in support of the relief organizations working to assist us, their efforts will serve as a complement to ours and will pay us dividends for generations to come.

 

In closing, we are finalizing logistics and details through all the proper channels to enable this group to join us on island in the coming weeks, if not days. They will help guide us, encourage participation from international aid organizations, assess our true current conditions, organize us to where any outside relief organization would be welcomed and most importantly effective and successful. And, my goal is to keep all well-informed during the entire process with daily updates as things progress. We’ve survived and now it’s time for all us to thrive! Our physical, emotional and economic well-being is at stake, we must get back to work and get income flowing to our local workforce as quick and as robust as possible. We all need to get behind this with Town Council’s blessing and do this as one voice, one community, and one Hope Town.

 

Respectfully,

Chris Thompson