Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018 - 13

201 8 TOP OPS AWARDS
MSO COMMUNITY SERVICE
Liberty Latin America
When Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
last September, Liberty franchises rallied to help stabilize their
people as soon as possible.
Liberty Puerto Rico, a division of Liberty Latin America, reached
out to its employees within the first 24 hours, says president Naji
Khoury, but it took two weeks to account for everyone. At least 50
employees had lost their homes, and more had severe property
damage or other acute needs, such as medicines requiring refrigeration.
The
cable operator provided food, water, and non-perishable items,
helped finance generators and distributed cash to its workers because
ATM machines were down. Liberty Puerto Rico also set up ATM machines
around the island, complete with armed guards. It also brought
gas to its warehouse to distribute to workers and volunteers so its
vehicles could bring relief to remote parts of the island.
" Before we helped anybody else in the community, we spent a lot of effort
and time in helping our employees first, " Khoury says. Liberty Puerto
Rico kept everyone on the payroll, and those not involved in rebuilding
the network, such as call center workers, were recruited to volunteer for
the company's Helping Hands charity. Family members pitched in too.
Liberty Puerto Rico set up WiFi hot spots so people in the community
could contact their loved ones and fill out assistance forms with
FEMA. And later it took to the road with WiFi tours, fortified with police
escorts, doctors, psychologists, chefs, barbers and entertainers,
and set them up in the middle of 35 remote towns. Local governments
and telecom boards identified the areas of greatest need,
and the tours were promoted by mayors, radio and newspapers
where available, but mostly through word of mouth. The relief work
remains ongoing, and recently Helping Hands volunteers replanted
trees to combat deforestation.
During the hurricanes, Liberty Latin America's Cable & Wireless
executives based in Florida kept ongoing dialogues with its systems
in the Caribbean via satellite phones, says Ruchi Kaushal, general
counsel for C&W and director of the Cable & Wireless Foundation.
" The relief response was instantaneous, " she says, despite the
logistical challenges of downed trees and power lines in the roads.
The company used its fleet of vehicles to deliver aid, as well as
boats and a jet that went from island to island.
Some of C&W's territories impacted by Irma and Maria last year
include Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Saint Kitts and
Nevis, and Turks and Caicos.
Like Liberty Puerto Rico, C&W started with basics like water and
generators. Despite experiencing personal loss and hardship, team
members rallied together and opened up stores to issue mobile
credit to enable customers to connect with families and friends
locally and abroad. C&W also provided free WiFi along with charging
Cablefax: The Magazine
July 2018
banks for phones and tablets. Prepaid customers were issued $10
free local credit for 48 hours. When employees relayed the importance
of clean clothes, headquarters sent washing machines.
The Cable & Wireless Foundation donated $100,000 to Shelter Box
to help distribute emergency shelter relief, such as tents. And it is
working with the Rotary Club and a budget of $1.6 million to identify
long-term rebuilding needs. To date, the foundation has focused on
helping local schools, such as fixing their roofs and donating equipment
to computer labs. n
FAST FACTS
u Early this year, Liberty Global spun off Liberty Latin
America, which includes Liberty Puerto Rico and Cable &
Wireless, among other properties.
uFollowing Hurricane Maria, Liberty Global committed
$1 million to Liberty Puerto Rico and Cable & Wireless for
their hurricane relief efforts.
uThe Cable & Wireless Foundation was launched in 2017
following Hurricane Maria.
uHelping Hands is an established charity arm of Liberty
Puerto Rico.
cablefaxmag.com
13
- Monica Hogan
http://www.cablefaxmag.com

Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018

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