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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Hurricane Damage in Virgin Islands

Hurricane forecasters had predicted fewer storms during1996, but it was deja vu for businesses and residents on St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, as Hurricane Bertha roared through the Caribbean in July. The storm was a reminder of the devastation caused less than a year ago by Hurricane Marilyn.

St. Thomas and the other U.S. Virgin Islands will repair the new damage and continue to rebuild facilities extensively damaged last year.

In the continental U.S., IBM assisted 13 customers in the recovery of multiple systems following Hurricane Bertha. Recovery specialists worked with customers in the southeastern U.S. to ensure that they experienced minimal business interruption. In addition to actual recoveries, the command center, staffed around the clock, handled more than 90 calls from concerned customers.

Also on alert during Hurricane Bertha was the IBM Crisis Management and Business Resumption Services team. This team is directing the work in the Virgin Islands.

Complete project and construction management services, primarily for the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), are being provided. The work, involving 64 buildings on three islands' St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, is being performed by IBM's Business Recovery Services and Nolind Associates.

The team began the project with the reconstruction of the Reichhold Center on St. Thomas.

In three weeks, starting in late-January, the concert hall was rebuilt. The work was finished on the morning of a sold-out gala mid-February performance by world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Other completed projects include assisting the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority in the reconstruction of their physical plant, drying the computers at St. Thomas Hospital and drying more than 100,000 books and other contents of the UVI library to prevent permanent damage from deterioration and mildew. At the hospital, the effort involved decontaminating and cleaning the computers and electronic equipment of residual moisture and corrosives, like salt.

Data recovery was performed on computer disk hard drives that were at risk of corrosion from salt residue, by transferring the data to contaminate-free storage devices.

Rebuilding the Virgin Islands Medical Foundation and the Watergate West villas, a condominium development, are future projects.

As part of their project management responsibilities, IBM advises UVI management, assists in the development of disaster recovery documentation, coordinates the recovery effort, administers vendor payments and coordinates Federal Emergency Management Assistance (FEMA) and related issues.

Construction management includes assessment of damages to develop a comprehensive construction plan; selection of architects, engineers and other specialized consultants; complete design services including architectural, mechanical, structural, electrical, interior design and estimates; complete site analysis to determine optimum repair process; demolition and cleaning of existing damage; development of all construction documents; building permit and inspection process management; development and tracking of budget; on site supervision; contract negotiations; and documentation of all activities.

The recovery work is directed by the IBM Crisis Management and Business Resumption Services team, made up of personnel from IBM and Nolind Associates, an IBM Business Partner based in California.

The University of the Virgin Islands celebrated its 34th anniversary this year. It was chartered on March 16, 1962 and is the only one of America's 117 historically black colleges and universities located outside of the continental U.S.

Ted Brown is the Northeast Region manager and Brent Woodworth is the worldwide segment manager for Business Resumption Services for IBM Business Recovery Services.

This article adapted from Vol. 9#4.

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