Over the last few months in this blog, we’ve been talking about how excited we are that the 2018 ISAPS Congress will be hosted in South Beach Miami, Florida. We’ve discussed the hotels, the neighborhoods, the beaches, the restaurants, the entertainment and the hotels of the region, and have started to feel like we’ve gotten to know the communities that make up this vibrant part of Florida. That is why it was especially heartbreaking to see the amount of flooding and damage that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Miami Beach and the rest of Florida. We wanted to give you an update on how Miami Beach is recovering, and how the aftermath of Hurricane Irma may affect the 2018 ISAPS Congress.
On August 30, 2017, the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean began to form, wreaking havoc all over the Caribbean and southern mainland United States. A Category 5 hurricane, Irma devastated many Caribbean island nations, the Florida Keys, and much of mainland Florida. Miami Beach was the subject of a mandatory evacuation, for the population’s safety. Although early reports had the storm heading straight for it, Miami Beach thankfully didn’t end up receiving a direct hit, and avoided the worst of the damage. However, they by no means avoided all of it, and it will still be many months before the full extent and cost of the damage is known. But now that Hurricane Irma is in the rear view mirror, it’s time to recover and rebuild.
And Miami Beach is eager to be up and running! The residents have all returned, the power is back on, and tourists have started to come back in droves. All of the city parks have been reopened, and cleanup crews have gotten rid of all debris and fallen trees that littered the streets. The hard work of the people of Miami and Miami Beach has brought their community back, and we applaud them for their incredible efforts and courage.
One of the major reasons we are so excited for the 2018 Congress in Miami is that we will be holding it in the newly renovated, multimillion-dollar Miami Convention Center. This space has a rich history of hosting many historic and successful events, and with its recent state-of-the-art renovation, the Convention Center is the perfect place to host all of our events for the Congress. Like the rest of the city, the Miami Convention Center was hit by the hurricane, and did suffer some structural damage, but on the whole, it could have been far worse. The damage is already being repaired and the Convention Center will soon be resuming their normal operations. By the time of the Congress a year from now, they will have completed all of their repairs and renovations, and they’ll be able to offer us the absolutely best facilities and hospitality possible.
There are many non-profit organizations that have begun to collect funds, food and supplies for the victims of the hurricanes, not just in Miami Beach, but all over Florida and the Caribbean. If you wish to donate any money to help in local storm recovery, we recommend organizations such as the Miami Foundation, which has set up the Hurricane Relief Fund as well as the Irma Caribbean Strong Relief Fund. If you wish to offer donations to help some of the island nations that were absolutely devastated by the storm, we recommend UNICEF or the Red Cross, as both are currently doing outstanding hurricane relief work.
So, how will Hurricane Irma impact the 2018 ISAPS Congress? It will not! The Congress is being held one year from now and, by the time we all arrive, Miami Beach will be fully recovered from the storm and excited to offer us, and everyone else who visits, one of the most beautiful, relaxing, fun and scenic spots in the world. We are sure looking forward to it!