Hurricane Irma

Leadership in action -- and a call to action, too

Leadership in action -- and a call to action, too

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — In September, Hurricanes Irma and Maria ripped through the Caribbean. Only one word describes the two storms: catastrophic.

There is the financial toll. In Puerto Rico, estimates are it may cost as much as $95 billion to recover. That’s billion with a b. 

The structural. It’s already three months-plus since September. Yet basics such as electricity and internet service, for instance, are hardly a given in many of the string of islands in the Atlantic Ocean lashed by the storms. The first time Steve Augustine, president of the British Virgin Islands track and field federation, had seen a working television since September was Sunday night here in San Juan, when he arrived for a Monday meeting.

The emotional. Godwin Dorsette, from Dominica, broke down in tears at that very meeting. “I’m a brave man. I’m a very strong person,” he said. “But I was afraid.”

Across the Caribbean, track and field is unquestionably a — if not the — leading sport. With that in mind, the sport’s global governing body, the International Associaton of Athletics Federations, on Tuesday announced a $500,000 “solidarity fund” aimed at helping those member federations that were pounded by Irma and Maria and, as well, by Hurricanes Harvey and Jose.