Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have packed a 1, 2, 3 punch unlike any we’ve seen before. While the size of response needed was a first for Team Rubicon, that didn’t stop the network from answering the call.
While the response is ongoing for Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean and Florida, providing more devastation around the globe. Team Rubicon UK immediately had teams in the British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos, Antigua, and Barbados to start assessing the damage and providing immediate search and rescue response alongside Serve On, along with water purification systems. “Our experienced teams are bringing relief and government agencies together with the affected population to ensure there is no duplication of effort and every dollar or item of material aid goes to where it’s needed most”, said Paul Taylor, a Team Rubicon UK volunteer and former soldier, in Barbados. There are also about 50 people working round the clock back in Chilmark to support the team on the ground, including Team Rubicon Global’s Strategic Partnerships Officer, Lourdes Tiglao, and Director of Global Technology, Adam Szafran. Team Rubicon USA didn’t let the work in Texas prevent support getting to Florida as well. There are currently teams in Jacksonville, Melbourne, and Immokalee providing damage assessments, debris management, chainsaw operations, and expedient home repair.
Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Team Rubicon USA has been responding in multiple capacities in Texas. From August 28 – September 4, six floodwater rescue teams were deployed, which was a first for the organization. Among those deployed immediately were Team Rubicon Global’s Director of Implementation & Support, Bob Obernier, and Deputy Director of Response, Jim Flory. Bob utilized his skills as a Water Rescue Task Force Leader, while Jim deployed as part of the Mission Planning Team. “It was an honor to work with Team Rubicon USA and coordinating with local authorities to provide search and rescue capabilities, along with transitioning to providing damage assessments and debris removal”, said Bob. Since the response started, 902 volunteers have deployed to Texas in support of ongoing hurricane relief efforts, conducting debris removal, damage assessments, muck outs, expedient home repair, and chainsaw operations. Among those volunteers are members from Team Rubicon Australia, Team Rubicon Canada, and Team Rubicon Norway, who were quick to jump in and say “How can we help”. We were able to get them there through our partnerships with organizations like Airlink and will be sending more members in the days to come. Response efforts continue in Texas, providing relief to multiple communities across the state.
While all of the responses were in motion, Hurricane Maria threatened the already battered Caribbean and to disrupt ongoing relief efforts. Team Rubicon UK used their skills to help the local communities prepare for this hurricane and made sure to keep themselves safe as well. Once the storm passed, work began again, and an additional 38 volunteers flew from the UK to Barbados to continue providing aid to the communities that need it most. Team Rubicon USA is continuing to gather intel from Puerto Rico as well to learn if assistance is needed.
Puebla Earthquake in Mexico
As if that wasn’t enough mother nature to keep the Team Rubicon Network busy, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck in central Mexico. Team Rubicon USA deployed a five-person team to conduct search and rescue, medical, and reconnaissance operations.
The Strength of the TR Network
We at Team Rubicon Global believe that it is the strength of the Team Rubicon Network, and the commitment of it’s members to continue to serve, that allowed us to stretch our capacity further than it has ever gone before. We are providing daily support to all Team Rubicon countries and making sure that we are keeping everyone informed of the multiple responses going on. Bringing together veterans, first responders, and civilians from around the world to provide disaster response is one of the key components, along with the support from our sponsors and donors, that allows Team Rubicon to push past our limits to develop and grow, so that communities are getting the assistance they need.