Resilience and Recovery

Resilience and Recovery

By Alex Rodriguez

Resilience and Recovery

By Alex Rodriguez
We are Miami Hurricanes and we have a historic legacy of resilience and renewal.

It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Irma’s outer winds and rain lashed South Florida, and for many, the recovery continues. With a stellar team of emergency management personnel at the helm, University of Miami students, faculty and staff were evacuated well in advance of the storm’s impending arrival to begin safety measures and precautions.

UHealth personnel returned to the medical campus a swift 72 hours after the storm; Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Miller School of Medicine students returned September 18; Law students, Coral Gables faculty and staff September 20; residential students September 22; all students returned and classes resumed Monday, September 25.

The return to campus showed obvious signs of Mother Nature's fury. Four million pounds of landscape debris have been collected so far in the university’s road to recovery. Yellow caution tape surrounds toppled trees and hidden damage to critical building management systems. This, even after Irma made a sharp shift west in the eleventh hour which spared Miami-Dade County from a direct Category 4 hit.

Today, power has been restored, residence halls have reopened, classes have resumed, and the university is coming to life again with everyone back on campus.

President Frenk was among the first to survey the damage when it was safe to walk the Coral Gables campus grounds post Irma. During the visit he photographed a flock of ibises, known to be the last to leave before torrential weather and the first to return. 

“We have weathered many challenges, and we have always come back stronger, more resilient, more determined to move the U forward,” President Frenk said in a video message to the UM community.

“We are very fortunate that Hurricane Irma’s impact was not as destructive in Miami as we feared initially,” he said.  “While none of our buildings suffered structural damage, several of them did experience water penetration that has been remediated. Both the Rosenstiel and the Gables campuses accumulated huge amounts of debris with a large number of fallen trees blocking roads and walkways and creating safety hazards.”

“We have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. Many in South Florida and the Caribbean were not as fortunate and we extend our solidarity to all of them,” he said.  

“We are Miami Hurricanes and we have a historic legacy of resilience and renewal.”

Watch the U’s Welcome Back video.