Cayman relief teams in BOTs braving Maria

| 19/09/2017 | 4 Comments
Cayman News Service

RCIPS on patrol in the BVI (Photo courtesy of the RCIPS)

(CNS): RCIPS officers in the British Virgin Islands and medical and emergency personnel in Anguilla, deployed to assist those islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, are remaining to face the onslaught of Hurricane Maria, which is expected to pass over the Virgin Islands as a category 5 tomorrow, the second catastrophic hurricane to pass through the Caribbean within two weeks.

The Caribbean islands in Maria’s path that also suffered through Irma face the additional threat of debris from that storm littering the islands, which will be picked up by hurricane force winds and turned into dangerous projectiles.

“The recovery teams on the ground are racing to help people prepare for the passage of Maria,” the premier’s office said in a release Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a credit to the bravery and commitment of our teams that they desire to remain in the islands in order to continue the tremendous work they have been doing,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said, noting that they have been in constant communication with the teams in BVI and Anguilla. “Their wellbeing and safety is of paramount concern and we are assured that every possible precaution has been taken in light of Maria’s rapid development into a category 5 storm.”

Cayman News Service

Hurricane Maria heads for the Virgin Islands

The RCIPS officers in BVI will ride out the storm in a secure location with the BVI governor’s staff, six Bermuda police officers who recently arrived, UK civilian police and Royal Marines.

“We are in constant communication with our officers and the command team in BVI, and the situation is evaluated on an ongoing basis,” said Police Commissioner Derek Byrne. “We have been assured that the structures in which they are currently housed are safe and secure.”

Matthew Forbes, Head of the Cayman Islands Governor’s Office, who is also in the BVI to assist the governor’s staff there, said the Cayman police would be “ready to deploy as soon as the storm has passed”. He added, “The RCIPS officers in BVI are continuing to do a fantastic job and are a credit to Cayman.”

CoP Byrne also praised his officers. “We are proud of the sense of duty displayed by the officers, all of whom wanted to stay in BVI throughout Hurricane Maria in order to be on hand when needed most, right after the storm. And we also want to thank their families for their support of this mission and assure them that the safety of the officers is always foremost in our minds.”

Although Anguilla will be spared a direct hit, the island is severely weakened by Irma, which will compound the impact of the tropical storm force winds it will experience.

However, the medical personnel from the government hospital and Health City Cayman Islands who travelled down to Anguilla on last week’s relief flight have volunteered to remain during the passing of the storm, the premier’s office stated. “The team has assessed the situation and have been given the assurance that the facilities, supplies and conditions in Anguilla are at levels that will not compromise their safety, security and wellbeing.”

Health Services Authority CEO Lizzette Yearwood said, “We have maintained hourly contact with the team and the Anguillan authorities and they have reassured us that all precautionary measures have been implemented to ensure their safety and well-being.” However, she added, “Should conditions deteriorate after the passing of Hurricane Maria, the HSA along with the government have established arrangements for their evacuation if necessary.”

McCleary Frederick, Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, who is part of Cayman’s relief team in Anguilla, said, “The medical teams are going to shelter at the hospital where they can best be positioned to provide any services that may be needed afterwards. We’re expecting tropical storm force winds later on today at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and I will remain here for the passing of the storm.”

He added, “We’re all okay and doing as much as we can, and I think it’s making a big impact at the hospital and with patients that are being seen and with the response from the EOC.”

According to Weather Underground, Maria is likely to make a direct hit to St Croix, one of the three US Virgin Islands, but could move far enough north for severe hurricane conditions to affect the other two US Virgin Islands (St Thomas and St John) and perhaps the British Virgin Islands as well.

Except for St Croix, all of these islands were severly impacted by from Hurricane Irma just weeks ago, “so even a lesser blow from Maria could have outsized consequences to residents and structures left vulnerable in the wake of Irma.”

Storm surge could reach 6 to 9 feet above normal levels in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Total rainfall in the Virgin Islands is expected to be between 10 and 15 inches, with isolated areas receiving 20 inches.

Maria made landfall on the island of Dominica at 9:15pm EST on Monday and was the first category 5 storm in history to do so. (See Hurricane Maria leaves Dominica devastated)

Dominica President Roosevelt Skerrit had to be rescued midway through the storm. “The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside,” he wrote on Facebook.

The public is reminded that, while Hurricane Maria is not a threat to the Cayman Islands, everyone is encouraged to prepare for this very active hurricane season. For further information on how to get ready, visit www.caymanprepared.ky.

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Category: Local News, Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done volunteers…excellent job and commitment to assisting your Caribbean brothers and Sisters




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Fake priest and pastors will get it first….




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank God it was not us, and pray for them. And I am no Pious Patty, but dang, those people have been beat up bad, and need every bit of assistance we can muster.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    God bless and protect everyone.




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