FCO coordinating relief efforts from Cayman Islands

| 06/09/2017 | 55 Comments
Cayman News Service

Hurricane Irma 5-day forecast, 5pm Wed, 6 Sept

(CNS): An infant died in Barbuda and at least two people died in the islands of St Barts and St Martin as a result of Irma, a catastrophic category 5 hurricane that is now passing Puerto Rico on its path of destruction through the northern Caribbean. With memories of Ivan in 2004 and Paloma in 2008, many in Cayman will want to help those affected, but the Governor’s Office is asking that people do not collect aid supplies themselves.

A GIS release said that Governor Helen Kilpatrick’s office is in direct contact with the FCO’s crisis response unit in London to ensure a calibrated relief effort from the Cayman Islands through that agency.

“As Irma passes across the Caribbean, affected territories are currently making damage assessments, while others are bracing themselves for the storm. The estimated damage is likely to run into the millions of dollars. In view of this, the public is asked not to collect aid supplies in a bid to avoid duplication of effort. Further details as to what aid is needed, and how to donate, will be issued in due course,” the release stated.

This was a conclusion made following a disaster-management meeting that Kilpatrick and Premier Alden McLaughlin held Wednesday with key personnel, including members of Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the National Weather Service, on how best to deliver a coordinated aid response to territories affected by the category 5 storm.

At around 8pm Wednesday, the centre of Irma was located around 50 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and 90 miles northwest of Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, moving west-northwestward at about 16 mph.

With winds of 185 mph, the monster storm left severe floods and damage in its wake as it passed Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Anguilla, and Saint Martin/Sint Maarten early Wednesday.

Weather Underground reported that as the front southwestern eyewall of Irma hit, Barbuda reported sustained winds of 118 mph, gusting to 155 mph, before the instrument failed, and the island had a storm surge of 7.95 feet.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that about 95% of properties on Barbuda were damaged and 20-25% were demolished. “I have never seen any such destruction on a per capita basis compared to what I saw in Barbuda this afternoon,” he said. “The infrastructure was damaged. All of the institutions, the lone hospital, the schools.”

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay, which visited the Cayman Islands in July this year, is currently in the region to assist in relief efforts.

McLaughlin said he had spoken to some of his fellow overseas territory heads of government “and assured them of our thoughts and prayers, as well as our commitment to supporting them in the wake of the storm”.

He added, “Of course, we must not forget all the people in Texas who are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, which hit the state less than two weeks ago. The Cayman Islands has strong links with that area; many people have family in cities such as Port Arthur, which was badly affected by the storm.”

The Cayman Islands is not expected to be severely impacted by Hurricane Irma, according to the National Weather Services. However, residents are urged to monitor the situation and have a hurricane plan in place. See here for details.

 

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To give a rapid response the application Brits should have had their Marines on the ground b4 the storm hit, like what the Dutch did for Sint Maarten.

    So how will they attend to more than one island in such a situation given the distances and only one supply ship? They couldn’t help us after Ivan becuz they gave all the supplies to Grenada.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry. HMS Ocean is leaving the Med soon and should be there next week. Zzzzzzzzz.




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      • Anonymous says:

        And the armed marines will stay safely on board rather than doing what the Dutch and French troops are doing right now in their respective territories – patrolling with machine -guns to dissuade looting. It is quite effective.




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        • Anonymous says:

          The difference is that the French and Dutch territories are an integral part of their respective countries -sending representatives to the respective Parliaments and paying income tax, VAT (and all the other taxes). The BOTs could go the same route if they wanted, all they have to do is ask. As it is, it seems that none of the islands even want to host a local base, meaning that the UK has to do everything at arms length.
          As for the Royal Marines, they will happily provide security if asked – don’t expect to get preferential treatment because you are “connected” though.




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          • Anonymous says:

            The Royal Marines refused to help with security after Ivan. As for the tax position, yes, the French and Dutch territories pay taxes. Those taxes are inadequate to cover the cost of their governance. The result is that the French and Dutch governments heavily subsidize them. They cost lots and lots of money. How much is our subsidy again?




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            • Anonymous says:

              It at least appears the UK has had a change of heart. 500 troops are being sent, 120 to address the looting issue in the BVI. Of course, it is too late with every shop in Tortola reported to have already been looted, and large numbers of people having spent days in fear, but at least the U.K. seems to be learning from its mistakes. Perhaps they can get it right next time!




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            • Anonymous says:

              Rubbish – British troops were ashore as soon as Ivan passed, but were then asked to leave. Presumably certain people didn’t want impartial eyes watching when stuff started to go missing.
              French and Dutch citizens pay French and Dutch tax and get the protection of the French and Dutch governments. How much tax does Cayman or any of the other BOTs pay to the UK government? Who gets UK citizenship and pays nothing for it (but has the right to go to the UK and live off UK benefits if they so desire?) A Bay-class amphibious ship cost GBP 280m to build and $10-11m a year to operate – how much doers Cayman pay for that? A C17 freighter aircraft costs GBP213m to buy and GBP 23000 per flying hour – how much did Cayman contribute to that? How much do ANY of the Caribbean Islands contribute to the UK armed forces? If anything, the Caribbean Islands have a history of sheltering UK companies from paying UK taxes – actually taking money away from the UK Government – hardly comparable to the French and Dutch territories that do at least contribute what they can to their respective countries economies.

              Cloud-cuckoo land




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              • Anonymous says:

                You are devoid of facts, humanity and reason. There was not an armed British soldier on the ground here after Ivan. Not for a moment. It is a fact that they refused to assist with security, despite pleas for help. It is also a fact that none of the assistance they offered in terms of supplies, was needed.

                You also have no understanding of the global financial services industry.

                The City of London and tens of thousands of its highly paid British employees and its billions of taxed profits could not thrive without the likes of Cayman.

                Many millions of pounds are repatriated to the UK every year by the thousands of UK nationals living here, that would not find its way there without us. Indeed, it is likely that born Britons receive much more money from Cayman’s economy, particularly in financial services, than born Caymanians do.

                We always had British citizenship before it was unceremoniously stripped from us. It’s return (after the he U.K. was done with Hong Kong and its former British Citizens) is not cause for gratitude.

                How much have the BVI and Turks paid in taxes to us for our helicopter and 16 police officers, for the charters of Cayman airways aircraft, for the supplies and the other assistance that we will otherwise willingly and gladly provide in the coming days and months to our British brethren in the other overseas territories affected by this tragedy?

                How much does the U.K. pay us for exclusive rights to mine and explore the natural reources for 200 miles around us?

                The British have in any event promised to protect us. Is their word their bond, or not?

                The English language (the U.K.’s most valuable gift to the Cayman Islands) is full of wonderful phrases to describe you. Unfortunately decorum (another valuable British export, and there are many but you are plainly not one of them) would prevent their use to describe you in this forum, and so I will refrain.




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                • Anonymous says:

                  Starting with an ad hominem attack – how quaint!

                  I understand the global financial services industry quite well thank you – I’ve worked in it for more than 25 years in a number of countries, including London and the Cayman Islands. Pretty much everything that you have posted relating to that is just a bunch of “whataboutery” and is, at best, inaccurate and at worst deliberately disingenuous.

                  I also note your clearly expressed belief that you deserve British nationality and the rights that come with it, but that you feel no obligation to pay anything towards it and the services that it provides, unlike the citizens of the French and Dutch Caribbean Territories (who, by the way are, also critical of their own Governments’ responses).

                  As for “facts” – I provided plenty of them, all easily verifiable, relating to the massive costs of providing humanitarian assistance on a large scale. At no point did I suggest that the aid was not, or should not be, freely given. In fact, my opinion is quite the opposite. I am fully supportive of the fact that the UK gives £12 billion pounds a year in aid to other countries. I also applaud any and all offers of assistance by the Cayman Islands Government and people.

                  You are correct in that, post-Ivan, there were no British “soldiers” on the ground, since Marines and sailors are Royal Navy, they are not technically soldiers, but I suspect that you know that and are simply playing at semantics, as you are with the word “armed” – why would they carry weapons, unless they were actually needed? I suspect that the average British serviceman equipped with a Mk 1 pick-axe handle would be more than sufficient to provide security in the vast majority of situations. Both HMS Richmond and RFA Wave Ruler (carrying between them approximately 300 crew and 50 Marines) were offshore soon after Ivan passed over (Richmond, as the faster ship trailed the storm first to Jamaica, then to Cayman and arrived first, in it’s immediate aftermath). I have read contemporary reports from residents complaining that the police were nowhere to be seen and that the only security in George Town was being provided by “British sailors” patrolling the streets. So yes, they were ashore providing security and were then asked to withdraw – just because it’s inconvenient to your contrived narrative doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

                  To quote the official view of the Cayman Islands Government

                  “Steve John, UK press spokesman for the Cayman Islands government, says reports of looting have been exaggerated…..
                  …… He said: “The island is lawful and peaceful and the reports of looting are only sporadic.”

                  The impression that CIG gave was that everything was under control and that troops were not needed – are you saying that the UK Government should have just disbelieved them and sent the troops in anyway?

                  As for the allegation that the UK refused to help the people of the Cayman Islands. It is widely reported that CIG wanted the aid to be turned over to them, whereas the UK forces wanted to distribute it themselves, direct to the people that needed it. One can only speculate as to why CIG was so insistent on that point that it preferred the people of the Cayman Islands to not receive the aid at all.

                  CIG did however later quietly request and accept emergency aid channelled through the European Union ( “to restore and improve living standards of vulnerable households; reduce poverty post Hurricane Ivan; and support the government’s move to reorient its budget for the reconstruction of public infrastructure and public services” – I wonder who benefitted from that money) as well as direct assistance provided in the immediate aftermath by the UK Government and a number of NGOs.

                  As for your final comments, there are also words to describe people like you as well, but unlike you, I don’t need to resort to ad hominem attacks in order to argue my point.




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  2. Anon says:

    Why did the Cayman Islands refuse help and block news media from entering during Hurricane Ivan?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Greed.




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    • Jotnar says:

      To prevent damage to the financial services industry. Wanted to pretend it was business as normal so as not to scare away investors. Wouldnt work today – too many uncontrolled social media outlets. BVI FS industry going to get caned in the next couple of months unless they get a persuasive media story going about how they are going to operate from their or remotely.




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      • Sam says:

        Yes. But strangely the news cycle loses interest after 2 days now- on EVERTHING. BVI can move along, quietly.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Phone up Mac and ask him. Ivan happened in 2004, why do you still need to know that?




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    • Unison says:

      Too much vultures come around and try to bribe politicians … like we help you, you must give back this or that to us.

      It happens everytime when they see people desperate :/




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    • Anonymous says:

      We did not refuse help. The help we needed was refused. There is a difference.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Haiti gave more to Cayman than the UK during Ivan.

        Fortunately they have learned from their mistakes.




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      • Anonymous says:

        The Brits offered help, but the local government wanted to impose conditions and refused it.




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        • Anonymous says:

          That is absolute bs. Stop speading facetious lies. The UK responded slowly as did the EU with the disbursement of disaster funding.




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      • Anonymous says:

        So true. They brought blankets. When we said we didn’t want them they said we refused aid.

        We asked for security, and they refused.

        It was a sick joke.




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        • Anonymous says:

          What tax contribution does the Cayman Islands make to the UK coffers, it being such a massive financial centre and everything?




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        • Anonymous says:

          Nonsense, the Brits offered security but the local government wanted to impose conditions on that, particularly in relation to the status of armed troops, such that the UK could not agree to it.




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          • Anonymous says:

            You mean the UK refused to follow the requests of the Governor? Do go on since you know what happened. Please reference the State of Emergency legislation in your response, and in particular the Governor’s powers in relation to armed forces in the territory. What exactly was the condition? That the troops stop looters?




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        • Anonymous says:

          Blankets for people in 95 degree weather. The UK has always been out of touch with our reality. Again, by their slow response, which is being outshined by the Dutch and French, they are illustrating what we have always believed.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Because we didn’t completely believe that aid was without strings attached.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ll wait until they ask for help. I am more than willing to assist victims of this terrible storm in any way that I can.




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    • Anonymous says:

      They have no phones, internet, communications, electricity etc. They have no security, and very little shelter. They may well shortly have no water, food, or urgent medical supplies. When and how do you expect them to ask? There is a difference between proactive and reactive help.




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  4. John Bodden - South Sound says:

    This looks like an opportunity for the people of the Cayman Islands to do something for others without asking what’s in it for us. Immediately after Ivan many people only wanted to leave, but unfortunately they were unable to get out and in a sense became a hindrance to the cleanup and restoration efforts.

    With the closure of Miami airport, Cayman Airways should have some slack in their scheduling and those jets could be used to ferry emergency supplies into, and people out of, the other BOT’s. From Cayman they can easily get onward flights to their final destination.

    Charity, like its sister Mercy, blesses him who gives as well as him who receives.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Seems a bit odd to tell people not to collect relief items them selves and to go through the crisis response unit in London. How do we know what we donate will make it there?




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    • Anonymous says:

      That is not what it says. It says they will let us know what is needed. How could you read anything else?




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      • Anonymous says:

        They have no clue what is needed. They sent us blankets and water purification tablets after Ivan and refused to assist with security!

        Fuel
        Generators (generating US not UK voltage)
        Bottled Water
        Tarpaulins
        Security
        Peanut M&M’s
        and the Evacuation of the elderly, sick, and children is what is needed first – but they will suffer for days while bureaucrats in London form committees to come to that conclusion!




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        • Anonymous says:

          Your training as a hairdresser is clearly paying dividends. Let’s put you in charge of the emergency team and see how you cope with…well, people like you who always know better but never lift a finger.




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          • Anonymous says:

            I played a significant role in Cayman’s recovery post Ivan. I coordinated relief flights and distribution of materials. I volunteered many hundreds of hours, and as a victim myself, also found first hand what is needed. Any hairdresser who spent 24 hours in the right side eye-wall of a strong category 4, and then a year rebuilding their lives and participating in assisting others is a much greater expert than many of the academics who have studied logistics and war-gamed shooting Russians. Yes, they have a considerable and very useful expertise, but leaving them to deal with it alone was demonstrably inadequate.

            The private sector rebuilt Cayman. Not the FCO. Do not undermine or underestimate the capacity of amateurs who are directly effected and have done it before, to get things right.

            It has been 3 days since the hurricane hit Barbuda.

            Have you seen the list of what is needed yet? When they produce it, they should remember to add satellite phones.

            Hope you do not need dialysis in a hospital with no roof, no electricity, no fresh water, and band of knife wielding scum trying to raid the pharmacy. Do not worry. In this modern age they will not send the Cavalry to rescue you. They are going to send a list, but please wait until next week. you see, there is a weekend coming up and the secretary cannot get her overtime approved.




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          • Anonymous says:

            Oh Dear. 5 days later law and order has broken down. Thousands of British subjects have no shelter and nothing to eat or drink. Persons are pleading for evacuation and have been denied it all while the US and Canada are evacuating their citizens. There is almost no communication. The FCO actually suggested persons with no communication, electricity or internet register their needs online. Damned hairdressers. What do they know?

            The FCO are saying their job is complicated by the lack of communication and infrastructure, like they did not anticipate it. What did they imagine was the effect of a category 5 direct hit on a remote Island?

            By the way. Jolly good of you but no need to fly in water and food and fuel and generators and backhoes from England. Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, all have it, closer and likely much less expensive. It might not have Union Jacks on it but is less expensive, more readily available, and will work.




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            • Anonymous says:

              I think that Barbados may well a potential base for the follow-on response. The US will probably use Jamaica or Puerto Rico (I think they did last year). The US move into the region from Honduras seems to have started today.
              Surely it’s better to fly the planes out from the UK loaded, rather than empty (I think most of the heavy equipment was loaded onto Mounts Bay in late May and has been sailing around the Caribbean since then)? I think the assumption is that most local equipment will either be inoperative through damage or hard at work already if useable, so additional equipment in known condition and operated by trained engineers (who happen to specialise in runway and port repair, as part of their military training) is more valuable initially. Once the runways and ports are repaired to civilian standards (military transport aircraft and ships being deliberately designed for poor/ improvised airstrips or over-the-beach landings and all that), then you start bringing in the hired equipment from elsewhere by chartered civilian air and sea transport.




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              • Anonymous says:

                Barbados definitely the central location for the UK/EU response. Three heavy lift, two passenger/ in-flight refuelling aircraft and one Hercules are building up supplies there for distribution onwards as the ports and airports re-open. US seem to be operating from Puerto Rico.




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        • Anonymous says:

          “They have no clue what is needed. They sent us blankets and water purification tablets after Ivan”

          I think that was the Red Cross – the UK Government sent tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, bottled water, communications equipment (sat phones). No idea about fuel and generators – maybe they thought West Bay already had plenty

          Only send peanut M&Ms if you want to kill people with allergies, though




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  6. Cheese Face says:

    Thoughts and prayers are pretty much useless if you have no food or water Alden.




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  7. Unison says:

    No way … last time funds were sent to Haiti because of an earthquake, I understood the folk there never receive it.

    I will love to help people, but I can see opportunist using this event for their own gain. The government and churches too.

    Its a sad reality, so much folk in need, but have to mention it :/




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    • Anonymous says:

      Jeff Webb could send them the FIFA money (with interest!) now that they really need it.




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    • Anonymous says:

      If you do something, do it through the Red Cross or someone similar…you know it will get there. However your negative thoughts and wish not to help just demonstrates what “Caymankind” is becoming. How about finding something positive to do rather than find an excuse not to help your fellow man, in that good ol’ Christian spirit, eh?




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      • Unison says:

        Red Cross? Out of all agencies! I have heard negative stories about them; especially the little they did for Haiti :/




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      • Anonymous says:

        How did you get concerns that the donations might not reach, or ulterior motives to be out of ‘Christian spirit’? Why does Christianity always come under attack?

        I am a Christian. I will be donating online to a Shekinah church over there. I know they will get it and I will bypass the political fronting that it seems is about to happen through the FCO. Pardon me for my FCO/CIG concerns but another thing my Bible tells me is to gentle as a dove, but wise as a serpent.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Ah feed them and convert them? That old trick. Eh?




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          • Unison says:

            Exactly. While they are helping you they are selling you their religion. You probably a buddhist and you sick, so they offer you a bedroom to get better. But they place a cross in front your face and play gospel music loud in the bedroom. What a mess! You wonder what the hell you got yourself into! :/

            And then you have many of them socalled “righteous” ones doing the good deed not from their hearts – but to get to heaven! Now I can think of nothing more selfish than that. These “righteous” do the good to chain you to a belief-system and save their own soul from hell !

            What ever happen with doing good for goodness sake???

            A bunch of hypocrits




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            • Anonymous says:

              I doubt you would care who feeds and helps you in a time of need. Selling religions or not when in need of true relief that doesn’t matter. Makes me wonder how many of the posters here actually went through Ivan.




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      • Sandy Beach says:

        Red Cross is the LAST place you want to donate to!!! Red Cross donations to Haiti reached almost a half-billion dollars and most of it is unaccounted for. To-date, they have built a total of SIX (6 ! ) houses in Haiti. Google it.




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    • Anonymous says:

      When donating to a charity make sure you look them up first to ensure most of your donation goes to actual relief. Many “Charities” are nothing more than money grabbers looking to build contact lists instead of help.




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