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Cayman Islands sends half million dollars to help Dominica storm recovery

Posted in: Regional News | 08 September 2015 | 2048

    Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin making the aid announcement yesterday.
    Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin making the aid announcement yesterday.

    All too familiar with the devastation that can be wrought during the hurricane season, the Cayman Islands government has sent US$500,000 to Dominica to help the island get back on its feet following the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Erika late last month.

    The storm left at least 31 people dead and dozens more missing and caused significant damage to infrastructure – almost EC$1 billion (US$370 million).

    Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin said he hoped his territory’s donation would assist in the recovering effort that is underway.

    “I really do think this is something we must do. We know devastation first-hand. They are our brothers and sisters too,” he said, with memories of the death and destruction of Hurricanes Ivan and Paloma caused to the Cayman Islands in mind.

    McLaughlin has been in regular contact with Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who reported that more than 370 homes in the island were partially damaged or destroyed and two communities were evacuated because of instability of the soil and risk to homes.

    “There is little doubt that the past few weeks have perhaps been some of the most challenging times in Dominica’s modern history. However, as Caribbean people, resilience is embedded in our DNA and as your forbearers did on many occasions before, you too will rebuild. Regrettably, we have been there too,” McLaughlin wrote in a letter to Skerrit.

    “The powerful images and heart wrenching stories that have been shared with us bring to mind hurricanes Ivan and Paloma and our own vivid memories of the struggle to recover.”

    Hurricane Ivan hit the Cayman Islands at Category 5 strength in 2004, killing two and causing about US$2.86 billion – almost double the territory’s GDP – in damage. Hurricane Paloma, which passed directly over Cayman Brac and Little Cayman late in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, caused tremendous damage to those islands. Grand Cayman was practically unscathed but the hurricane caused a total of US$154.4 million in losses.

    In late August, Erika dumped about 10 inches of rain on Dominica in only a few hours, turning rivers on the mountainous island into torrents and hillsides into deadly mudslides.

    In addition to the aid from the Cayman Islands government, McLaughlin urged Cayman’s residents to help in the effort to get dry food items and other necessities, and cash donations, to assist those in need.

    He said if enough goods were collected, Cayman Airways would fly them to a nearby island for transportation to Dominica, since the only operating airport, Canefield, cannot support the landing of Boeing 737s.

    The island’s main airport, the Douglas-Charles Airport, was significantly damaged and requires major reconstruction.