Because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, followed by Dorian in 2019, around 1 million structures, mostly homes, were either damaged or destroyed on islands throughout the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. Add in losses from the recent earthquakes that hit Puerto Rico, and that number grows even further. Although not official, 1 million homes in need of rescue is an enormous quantity. Bringing those homes back to life would be an overwhelming task for any one nation, even the United States. That the damage has occurred on a variety of dispersed islands creates an even greater challenge, one I would argue is unprecedented.
The urgent need to re-house the region, with the goal of making structures more resilient and built to code, has put tremendous pressure on material and labor resources. So much so that the likelihood that quality construction can be achieved is now in question. I agree with Richard Branson, who argues the Caribbean region requires a response on the order of the Marshall Plan after WWII.
It is time for transformational action. One simple way to respond aggressively would be to employ the HabiTek Framing System. Because the steel system is pre-engineered and pre-fabricated to code, and “erector-set-like,” a host of issues are addressed: labor shortages, code enforcement, most inspection requirements, and even shortages of lumber and concrete. But most importantly, HabiTek frameworks would produce structures that will remain standing even in the face of future Category 5 hurricane strikes, as well as earthquakes. The HabiTek System has quality construction built-in. Not to mention, the kit of parts provided by HabiTek can be assembled by almost any able-bodied person, and by using only one hand tool.
For those of you following the recent swarm of earthquakes off Puerto Rico, I would recommend following Dr. Kit Miyamoto. Dr. Miyamoto, a structural engineer, has assisted numerous countries throughout the world respond to quakes, including Nepal, Chile, and–close to my heart–Haiti after the quake in 2010. Recently Dr. Miyamoto established a satellite office in Puerto Rico.
10% of buildings in impacted areas of #PuertoRico are damaged and about half of those need to come down. The good news? There's cost-effective repair and strengthening options for the rest, @kitmiyamoto tells @ElNuevoDia https://t.co/ClrYH1uQrH
— Miyamoto International (@miyamotointl) January 27, 2020