The 2017 hurricane season was catastrophic for the Caribbean Islands. Multiple, successive hurricanes devastated the region, crippling electric grids, communications networks, and transportation infrastructure. The destruction resulted in significant loss of life and injury to those who were unable to escape the storm and access needed assistance in the days after the hurricanes. Throughout the storm season, WorldAware provided real-time intelligence and analysis, monitoring and advice, and operational assistance to numerous clients with personnel on multiple islands including: Dominican Republic, Sint Maarten, Dominica, and Puerto Rico.
Before, during, and after the storms, WorldAware monitored changing conditions on the ground, provided clients with timely situational updates, and coordinated logistics for safe havens and secure transport. For travelers and in-country personnel who were unable to check-in with their organizations through other means, WorldAware identified their precise locations, initiated 24/7 communication protocols, and delivered critical advice. By working with local, in-country security partners, WorldAware was also able to secure evacuation transportation for more than 150 client personnel via air, land, and sea.
WorldAware in Action
WorldAware’s Global Integrated Operations Center provided continuous coverage of the multiple hurricanes and changing weather conditions in the region. Before the storms made landfall, our Americas and Environmental analysts delivered critical intelligence on the paths of the hurricanes, enabling our Global Assistance and Response experts to proactively form Incident Management teams at our headquarters and organize in-country resources to assist with the aftermath. Because of the length and severity of the storm season, our Incident Management teams completed more than 34 days of continous effort supporting clients in locating and evacuating their employees.
To best assist clients in the aftermath, WorldAware pre-deployed security teams that included medics, satelite communications, and cash in advance of the hurricanes making landfall. Being proactive with resources proved crucial and provided the assistance our clients needed, given the lack of basic infrastructure and widespread damage experienced in the Caribbean. From late August to early October, the WorldAware Incident Management teams provided rapid, on-the-ground assistance, intelligence, and client decision support. Intelligence was continuously analyzed, including tactical information from in-country resources.
WorldAware’s Incident Management teams operated through many challenges, including damaged and impassable roads, poor communication, large search areas, continued disruptive weather, complex coordination with local governments and partners, and volatile security environments. However, WorldAware’s experienced, in-country security teams were able to effectively navigate these challenges, successfully locate and establish communication for individuals in remote areas, provide disaster relief, and evacuate hundreds of personnel.
Coordination with local and national governments, along with key partners, was essential throughout the operations. WorldAware’s teams liaised with FEMA representatives, the US military, and the Danish military to facilitate re-supply for fuel, water, and food in order to ensure evacuation and relief operations were successfully completed. Our global charter partners also proved key in acquiring multiple air, land, and seaborne platforms to facililate secure movement and evacuation of client personnel from danger.
One Client's Story
In the aftermath of destruction left by Hurricane Maria, one of WorldAware’s clients had a family of three waiting in the airport to evacuate from Puerto Rico. Communications were difficult, especially since there was little cellphone service and no internet access. Exceptional measures were required to ensure the family was on the passenger manifest list. WorldAware’s Incident Management team directly contacted the pilot of the plane who helped modify the passenger list to get the mother and child safely out of the country the same day. The husband was able to join them the next day.
WorldAware experts provided accurate, 24/7 intelligence on the progression of the storms and advised clients about appropriate actions and planning so they were well-prepared. With WorldAware’s technology and intelligence, clients were able to know where their personnel were traveling and make informed decisions about how to respond to the changing environment.
WorldAware successfully executed multiple, complex operations concurrently. Our method of triaging the situation holistically allowed us to deliver cost savings to our clients for shared needs and ensured needed resources were available for specialized requirements. Most importantly, WorldAware support and assistance helped hundreds of people stay informed and safe.
WorldAware solutions enable organizations to operate globally with confidence by helping them prepare, monitor, and respond to threats that could impact operational performance.