Sister Islands recovery update

| 13/11/2008

(CNS): Update Tuesday 27 November 9:40 pm. About 200 gas vouchers have been given to residents who need assistance with buying fuel for generators. Each voucher is worth $20. Regular garbage collection has resumed on Cayman Brac, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) officials have announced. West of Public Works: collection will be on Mondays and Thursdays. East of Public Works: collection will be on Tuesdays and Fridays.

DEH is offering temporary, paid employment to persons who will assist with debris cleanup. To register your availability, visit the Command Centre at the airport.

Customs and Immigration are both operating out of the airport. To get in touch with them, call:
Customs: 948-1310; and Immigration: 948-1522.

District Administration continues to be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.

All video link courses at the Cayman Brac Campus of the University College of the Cayman Islands will resume on Thursday, 27 November. All other Associate Degree classes will resume on Monday, 1 December. Continuing Education classes will be rescheduled at a later date. For further details, please visit the UCCI Cayman Brac website or call 949 9580.

Cayman Brac students who have other concerns or questions may contact Mr Ebanks of the Student Services Department at 526-5041.

The Cayman Brac Day Care Centre  is re-opened. Parents are advised that the centre is for babies and toddlers only. School aged kids should instead join the youth programme at the Youth Development Centre which runs between 8:30am and 2:30pm, Monday to Friday.

For more information on the Day Care Centre’s reopening, call 948-2672. For more information about the youth programme, call Tammy Banks-DaCosta at 916-6287.The Cayman Islands Investment Bureau has set up an information hotline specifically for Small business owners and operators on the Sister Islands.

Just call 1 800 534 0004 – toll free – to get the latest information concerning the recovery of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Call 1 800 543 0004 for a summary of the CIIB initiatives available for small business owners.

Additional data available on the hotline includes initiatives from other lending institutions such as banks & Credit Unions and vital information from Hazard Management as well as details on the restoration of utilities throughout the Sister Islands.

Cayman Brac public servants are advised that the opportunity to apply for a government-secured loan remains open. The team from the Portfolio of Finance will be back in the Brac on Monday and Tuesday of next week (25 & 25 November) to continue vetting applications. Officers will return as often as needed to complete the process.

Temporary Trailer Site: The area next to the Watering Place playground has been cleared and prepped for temporary trailers. Persons in need of trailers are asked to call the Brac Command Centre to apply. The numbers are 925-626l; 925-6262 and 925-6265. Washing Machines have been installed at the Spot Bay and Watering Place public restrooms and are expected to be fully functional tomorrow.

Temporary generators with light towers have been placed at public restrooms in Spot Bay; Creek port; the Creek area; and Watering Place.

Take Garbage to Main Road: The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) asks persons to bring waste, separated into categories, to the main road as garbage trucks cannot access smaller roads. The Red Cross and ADRA are assisting older persons and those who need help in this effort.

DEH reminds everyone that it is illegal to burn garbage. Burning can worsen the condition of those with respiratory illnesses, and creates a safety hazard with all the debris around.

Food Supplies to LC: Some 787 lbs. of food and water reached Little Cayman today. Three ADRA personnel also arrived to help with distribution.

Slow Your Speed: RCIPS officials urge persons to reduce their speed for their own safety, and that of others. The police warn that fines will be imposed for speeding.

Power and Light: CUC, and Cayman Brac Power & Light, have separate roles in electricity restoration. CUC is responsible for setting up high-voltage lines only. CBP&L is reconnecting homes, using three teams. Team one is working on restoring power from the airport to the east; team two is focused on Scarlet Road to Bluff Road; while team three is targeting Bluff Road, east to Watering Place. Residents are asked to be patient as work continues.

Businesses Connected: The West End Post Office, Billy’s Supermarket and the Shop all now have electricity.

Spot Bay Distribution Point: A second distribution point for relief supplies opened in Spot Bay today. It will stay open as long as supplies last. Located in Max Plaza—‘Julia Ann McLaughlin’s Shop’—distribution opening hours are 10:00am until 5:00pm daily.

Governor’s Office Donates to the CINRF: His Excellency the Governor, Mr Stuart Jack, CVO, has donated US$150,000 from his UK-delegated funds to the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund. The donation will assist persons in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman whose homes were destroyed or damaged during Paloma.

Radio Cayman Still Available on 91.9: To hear Radio Cayman in the Brac and Little Cayman, please continue to tune in to 91.9 until the station is able to transfer the signal to its usual channel.

The Day Care Centre in Cayman Brac has not yet been re-open, as previously reported by GIS. November salaries and wages for Ministry of Health and Human Services (MHHS) Brac employees were paidMonday, 17 November. Payments were also made to those persons who are entitled to financial assistance, as well as seafarers’ and veterans’ benefits. (Left: Brac Reef Hotel)

Radio Cayman is having a problem with its antenna, so the signal to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman is being broadcast on 91.9. Put up a reminder to change the tuner! If you can’t get Radio Cayman on 93.9, try 91.9.

Youth Programme: Eight Days of Light was launched on Monday, 17 November, at the Brac Youth Development Centre on Student Drive in Creek. The programme runs until Monday, 24 November, offers organised activities to youth aged 8-19, and will accommodate more than 100 participants. Transport is provided, with pickup at roadside starting at 8am. The programme ends at 5pm daily and the youngsters are dropped off afterwards. Call Annie Rose Scott at 916-7310 for more information.

Parents should also note that the Daycare Centre is open for toddlers.

District Administration Building: Currently the building is being assessed with the health and safety of occupants and visitors in mind.

Civil servants on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are to return to work on Wednesday, 19 November, according to the Chief Secretary. Civil servants should return to their normal place of work, unless their head of department has informed them otherwise. A department head may choose at his or her discretion to redeploy individuals or have alternative work places available. Persons should also contact their appointing officer or department head immediately if for some reason they cannot return to work on that day.Any additional time required to continue hurricane recovery activities will be made available to civil servants on a schedule agreed with their HODs or appointing officers using time-in-lieu or annual vacation.

Little Cayman needs supplies. The current bad weather has delayed delivery of a container. Little Cayman is expecting a delivery, midweek, of food, generators, and small propane stoves.

From Brac Power & Light: Of the 264 poles damaged on Cayman Brac, 90 have been replaced. On Little Cayman, 138 were damaged and 30 have been replaced. CUC is helping with power restoration on the Brac, and CUC has brought in MasTec to help on Little Cayman.

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) now has its food inspection and rodent control programmes back up and operating.

The DEH Officer for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Thomas Augustine said DEH officers are still doing the rounds to pick up bulk waste and household garbage in Cayman Brac. “There is a slight slowdown because we have two trucks designated for bulk waste pick up and one is being serviced, but we should be back up to full strength by tomorrow,” he explained. Augustine reminded residents to leave vegetative, construction and metal waste in separate piles along the roadside for pick up.He said residents should take debris to the main roads as the garbage truck cannot travel along smaller streets due to debris blocking the way.

He also encouraged persons who have the appropriate vehicles and who can dispose of their own bulk waste to do so. Waste is to be separated into categories and vegetative waste disposed of at the area opposite Scott’s Quarry. All other material (metals and construction debris) should be taken to the landfill, Augustine reiterated. The landfill is operating from 6am to 6pm.The DEH has also designated two trucks for household garbage collection which is ongoing.

The Red Cross is beginning to wrap up its relief efforts, and is moving into assisting with recovery by helping to clean houses and pick up debris.

Debris cleanup: Cayman Brac’s tub grinder has been repaired and is back in service, chewing up vegetative debris deposited in the lot across from Scott’s quarry. The equipment at Little Cayman’s landfill is being repaired.

 

The Public Service Pensions Board (PSPB) is bringing its Brac and Little Cayman November payroll forward to Tuesday, 18 November. PSPB representatives will also visit the Brac to meet with public servants some time next week. Further information on this meeting will follow. DEH) is discouraging residents from burning garbage or yard waste.

Public servants wishing to apply for financing government guaranteed hurricane assistance loans should visit Room #1 of the UCCI Brac Campus in Stake Bay across from the District Administration Building. Contact persons are Sonia McLaughlin at 916-1640, Anne Owens at 916-4248, and  Michael Nixon at 926-2463.

The Department of Environmental Health say burning garbage or yard waste creates a fire hazard and smoke worsens the condition of persons with respiratory illnesses such as asthma. People should instead separate debris into categories and leave at curbside for disposal or pick up by DEH staff. DEH is requesting residents to take their garbage to the main roads as the garbage truck cannot travel along smaller streets due to debris that blocks the way.

A 45-man voluntary cleanup crew from Dart is spending two days on Cayman Brac. On Sunday the Dart crew joined workers from the departments of Environmental Health and Agriculture and worked in Watering Place, Spott Bay, and West End. These were among the areas with the most damage to vegetation. Crews worked down side roads as well as on the main road.

The public park in Watering Place, including the children’s playground, was cleaned up and is ready to use. The teams also cleaned public restrooms on the north side. Today (Monday) the public restrooms on the south side will be cleaned and some of the workers will be going to Little Cayman. Residents are asked to take all safety precautions if they encounter the teams at work and to extend every courtesy to these volunteers.

Cayman Brac Power & Light Update: Full power has been restored to the Gerrard Smith International Airport. At this time power has been restored to the Water Authority offices; Cayman Brac Power & Light is moving hastily to restore power to the Water Authority plant.

The Command Centre reports mobile units continue to visit the elderly and all those who are unable to go to the distribution centre. Relief workers carry essential supplies and note the needs of those they visit.

On Little Cayman, a crew from CUC has now joined the two Cayman Brac Power & Light staff on the island. The Island’s high voltage work has been completed and electricity should be restored to the Little Cayman Beach Resort by today (Sunday). The tanker arrived with gasoline. Another damage and needs assessment team will make a visit to the Island Monday.

Minister for District Administration, Kurt Tibbetts, the Ministry’s Chief Officer Kearney Gomez, and Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor visited Little Cayman yesterday Saturday and brought additional supplies. Sister Islands MLA Julianna O’Connor Connolly travelled to Little Cayman by boat with supplies Sunday.

The Water Authority plant on Cayman Brac is being powered by generator and has resumed production. A CUC spokesperson said they hoped to have the plant hooked to the main supply Tuesday. Cayman Brac residents may call to have water delivered; however, the truck must be able to access the tank, and residents should ensure that any water already in the tank has not been contaminated. Any contaminated water should be drained and the tank cleaned before taking delivery of fresh water. Water is also still available at Aston Rutty’s distribution centre.

According to a government release, HMCI reports that the number of people coming to the distribution center for relief supplies has begun to taper off. 367 families received supplies on Monday, 10 November. Friday, 14 November 139 families received supplies. These numbers refer only to those who came to the distribution center. Deliveries to the elderly and others who couldn’t come to the distribution center are not included in these figures.

The Aston Rutty Centre is now the only open shelter. The number sheltering there has been dropping on a nightly basis; 83 people spent the night Friday. This includes the residents of the Kirkconnell Community Care Centre.

Transitioning from relief to recovery – the nature of Government’s efforts on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are changing. As people move back into their homes and as businesses reopen and services are restored, the needs of the residents change. The Command Centre expects very soon to begin asking for assistance in sourcing building materials.

The Brac Command centre says it is still in need of suppliesand has made a public appeal. Meanwhile, power is expected to be restored to the Gerrard-Smith International Airport on Cayman Brac by the end of Saturday, according to CUC. Hopefully, the Water Authority will be connected by Tuesday and then there will be a big push by CUC and CBP&L to get the Eastern districts connected.

Around 264 poles were downed altogether on Cayman Brac and 165 on Little Cayman, mostly on the north side. Additionally, 48 were leaning on Little Cayman. 27 have now beeen restored as of Friday.

The Brac Command Centre said it is making a public appeal for specific items needed by clean-up crews and by Cayman Brac and Little Cayman residents. All items can be dropped off at the Red Cross or at the Family Life Centre at theChurch of God on Walker’s Road, in Grand Cayman. These items are needed by clean-up crews and should be consigned to Tristan Hydes at the Brac Command Centre:  Dust masks; Heavy rakes; Push brooms; Bottled water 16 ozs; Large industrial garbage bags; Heavy gloves; Sun block; 12 hammers; 50lbs Button Nails. The following items are needed by residents and should be consigned to the Brac Command Centre:

 Air mattresses with pumps : Large plastic storage containers (e.g. Rubbermaid, 30-gallon); Lanterns; Mops and brooms; Small submersible water pumps (for pumping out cisterns; Small 4-gallon buckets; D and AA batteries; Gloves, both leather and latex; Styrofoam ice chests;  Both the Red Cross and the Family Life Centre are also accepting general donations as well as boxes labeled for specific people.

The government reports that more trailer homes arrived Friday, 14 November. The Brac Command Centre has begun a list of those seeking temporary accommodations. In order to begin the needs assessment process, call 925-6261.150 portable gas stoves should arrive in the Brac on Monday.

Home Gas has confirmed there is sufficient propane and more will be brought in as needed.

162 generators arrived and are being distributed. Call 925-6262 to request temporary use of a generator. Leave your name, contact number and address. As soon as power to your building is restored, please return your borrowed generator to the distribution centre. Follow the instructions that come with your generator. Remember, a generator needs oil as well as gasoline. If you misuse one of these generators, you will not be able to borrow another one from the Command Centre.

The Public Service Pensions Board advises its pensioners on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman that its November payroll will be brought forward to Tuesday, 18 November.

As restoration work continues apace on the Sister Islands, the government has said there should be no need to contract foreign labour as the clean up and rebuild can be done with Caymanain workers. And while more relief is also on its was today, basic supplies are available at the Aston Rutty Distribution Centre.  Also many businesses are now re-opening.

The Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts told the press Thursday that rumours suggesting foreign workers or firms were alredy contracted to do the clean up on the Sister Islands was nonsense and said the work would all be done by local people from Grand Cayman as well as the Brac. "Where employment in the reconstruction effort is concerned, government is insisting that preference should be given to the residents of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, as long as they are experienced and capable of doing the job. We believe this is only fair, especially in cases where persons have been displaced from their regular employment as a result of the hurricane," Tibbetts added.

Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) aircraft flew over the islands Wednesday and Thursday dropping pellets to control the mosquitoes. However, MRCU staff have said that the substance used to control mosquitoes is not harmful to humans, animals or fish. MRCU will carry out a number of control operations in areas affected by flooding. To further ease the restoration process following the devastation caused by Hurricane Paloma, the Water Authority is offering trucked water to all residents on the Brac. Anyone needing water should call 925-6265 and place their order and the water will be delivered.

Residents using water from cisterns, wells and holding tanks are also reminded that they should ensure that all water is properly treated prior to consumption. All water should be boiled before drinking and or treated with 3 drops of household bleach per gallon or 3 ounces of household bleach per 1,000 gallons to ensure continued safety.

CICSA on Cayman Brac isdeferring loan repayments to Credit Union for its Sister Islands members for November 2008 to January 2009. Persons should note that while payment on the principal has been suspended, interest will still accrue.

The Department of Agriculture in Spot Bay is open from 8:30 am to noon. Staff are concentrating on guiding replanting efforts, beginning with reviewing the regulations for importing plants and agriculture material from Grand Cayman.

Elderly persons, or persons who want to make appointments for the elderly, can call Faith Hospital on 948-2243 for flu shots. For emergencies, call 911.

Residents are asked to separate all debris into four categories: vegetation or yard waste; residential or household garbage; construction and demolition debris, and metals. Department of Environmental Health (DEH) staff will soon advise residents about the collection schedule.

The Health Services Authority, Department of Children and Family Services, Red Cross, and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) are jointly making deliveries and providing services to the homebound elderly on the Sister Islands. If your elderly relative or neighbour needs assistance call 925-6265.

Power and the main telephone number (948-2243) have been restored at Faith Hospital. Two cell numbers have been established for persons who need to make medical and counseling appointments; for the elderly or infirm who either need supplies to be delivered to them, or need a doctor’s visit to their homes; and for persons who want to let relief workers know that someone in the community needs assistance. The numbers are 916-8672 and 925-9980. Please make sure to provide information such as name, address, and type of assistance that may be required.

Approval has been given for a grace period for vehicle registrations until Monday, 24 November. For housing assistance call the Cayman Brac Command Centre at 925-6261. For generators, call 925-6262. If you can’t get through on these two numbers, call 925-6265.

District Administration is doing a needs assessment for its staff. All Sister Island civil servants should call 916-3634 or 948-1522 to assist with this process.

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman residents who are currently using their own or borrowed generators are reminded that they must top them up with oil to avoid them burning out. Residents are responsible for arranging their own gasoline and containers. Safety should always be maintained. Generators must NOT be kept indoors, and children must not operate, or be in contact with, generators.

Sister Islands residents who urgently need to borrow a generator are asked to call the Brac Command Centre on 925-6262 to request temporary use of a generator. Calls will be answered as quickly as possible. Leave your name, number and address. Once a generator is arranged, you will be contacted to collect it.

Planning inspections of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman homes are progressing well, with seven teams on the ground on Cayman Brac, and one team on Little Cayman.

The teams are doing life-safety assessments: inspecting electricity, plumbing and building structure. Planning approval is necessary for the restoration of electrical service. If a house is cleared, the electric meter will get a white sticker with a number. You will not get a white sticker if there is damage to your electrical service, feeders or branch circuits. Also, your home should be free of water damage to wiring, equipment and fixtures.

Cayman Brac Power and Light will see the sticker and reconnect electricity. If team cannot get access to a home, it will leave an orange sticker on the electric door with a contact number. Residents should call the number to schedule an inspection.

In order for homes to pass inspection and to be approved for electrical hookup, residents should ensure that the house should be fairly watertight. if there is exposed plywood on the roof, it must be covered with tarp. Also, exposed roof sections should be less than 25% of the roof. If a section of house is damaged, it should be closed off if possible, and electricity to that area shut off. The undamaged section of the house can be cleared for reconnection, if it passes inspection. Please be aware that even though a portion of the house may look undamaged, there may be problems that are not immediately visible.

If your weatherhead is bent, it’s best to have a licensed electrician fix it before the inspection. This will help avoid multiple inspections, and therefore speed the reconnection process. Internal electrical wiring and panel boxes must be dry, and protected from water intrusion. If there is a problem that prevents electrical approval, the team will explain to the resident or owner what is wrong, and what needs to be done before re-inspection.

Electrical repairs MUST be done by licensed electricians. Ask the electrician to show you his receipt from the Planning Department that indicates he is licensed. The planning teams are working during available sunlight, and each team is inspecting an average of 40 homes each day. At this rate, they hope to complete the initial round of home inspections in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman by this Friday evening.

The temporary police station in Cayman Brac is fully operational at the UCCI building in Stake Bay (opposite the District Administration Building). This temporary police station is open to the public 24 hours a day. The normal landline number – 948-0331 – has been forwarded to the UCCI building and is being manned 24 hours a day. The Cayman Brac cell phone – 926-0635 – is also manned around the clock. Area Commander, Chief Inspector Adrian Barnett thanks the public for their patience, assistance and support during this time.

Firearm license holders in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are being asked to check on the safety and security of their firearms by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). If anyone identifies a security risk with the storage of their firearm, they should contact the police who can assist with safe storage. Officers will be carrying out inspections over the next few days to ensure that all firearms are kept securely. Officers can call the following numbers for police:

* Cayman Brac: 948-0331 or 926-0635.
* In Little Cayman: 925-4428 or 925-4431.
 

 

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