Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Hurricane to form in the Atlantic in over ten years – has left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean and is on track to make landfall in Florida as a Category 4 over the weekend. In its wake, Hurricane Jose is following closely behind on a similar path.
As the governments and people of the region come to terms with the devastating news of loss of life and widespread destruction of homes and property, C&W Communications Caribbean President, Garfield Sinclair, expressed sympathies for all who have been directly and indirectly affected by this natural disaster.
Sinclair said, “We are certainly not out of the woods yet, as Hurricane Irma remains right on our doorsteps while Hurricane Jose bears down on us. This is a massive challenge particularly for those already devastated households and businesses, who have not even had a chance to fully assess the damage caused by Irma.”
The Caribbean President urged everyone to “stay safe first, do your best to keep in touch with friends, family and neighbours and most of all heed the warnings issued by the Disaster Management Authorities.” He added, “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our affected Caribbean communities is always our top priority. Many of our own colleagues have experienced significant personal loss, along with significant damage to their homes and properties and we are still in the process of assessing the damage to our networks and facilities across the markets.
Despite these extremely debilitating circumstances however, there have also been incredibly inspiring examples of a steely resolve to rebuild lives and communities in the shortest possible time. For example, immediately following the Hurricane our staff in Anguilla rallied together and opened up our store to issue mobile credit from our shop windows way into the night, to enable Anguillans to contact their families and friends locally and abroad.
Similarly, our colleagues in BVI, who also experienced significant damage to their homes were on hand to open our Flemming Street Store – itself badly damaged – to give residents access to our Wi-Fi services and issue mobile credit to allow them to contact loved ones. Such is the resilience of the human spirit, and I wish to personally thank them for their acts of selflessness during such difficult times.”
In the affected markets, Flow also issued $10 free local on-net credit to its prepaid customers which was valid for 48 hours.
Sinclair outlined that, “While the Flow network remained resilient across the affected markets and in some cases was the only communications option for many affected residents during and post the Hurricane, we have reports of extensive damage to individual cell sites in all markets. Additionally, our ECFS sub-sea system that runs between St. Martin and BVI, was damaged which resulted in a disruption of services on our international circuits for Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago. This issue has since been rectified.
Our restoration efforts have already begun and Antigua has been set up as our main staging area to expedite the delivery of relief supplies. We will continue to provide further updates to customers regarding office closures in affected markets, particularly in Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts & Nevis which are currently bracing for the onslaught of the second powerful Hurricane in less than two weeks.”