Grand Cayman: ‘Devastation beyond imagination’
Monday, September 13, 2004
At 9 am local time on Monday, as the first reports of the full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan began to come in, the early morning scene has been described as ‘devastation beyond imagination’.
Mariners Cove, an apartment building at Spotts on the south side of Grand Cayman, has been blown down by the wind completely across the road, blocking all traffic. Extensive damage has also been reported at Ocean Club, another apartment complex in the same area.
Just about every house on the island has lost part or all of its roof, in some cases the debris landing on the roofs of adjacent buildings.
Cars and boats have been swept by floodwaters into the roadways.
Some homes have been completely gutted by the wind and floodwater, with entire contents being swept across the streets. In some houses it is possible to see a high water mark on the walls, evidencing flooding of some 4 to 5 feet.
Whole sections and floors of some apartment buildings have completely disappeared.
Emergency services are experiencing difficulties in responding to requests for assistance because of communications difficulties. Some Cable & Wireless cellular phones are still working sporadically; all other providers have lost service.
Cayman Net News reporters are currently trying to make their way around the island to report on the damage at first hand and further details will be published as soon as circumstances and communications permit.
In a separate report, local journalist Paulette Connolly said on Monday that Hurricane Ivan ripped through the Cayman Islands tearing away homes and other building like "match sticks".
In a live interview on Citadel Radio on Monday, Connolly said that there had been reports of people being killed during the passage of the category five storm that had trucks and cars "floating like toys".
"The winds ripped the apartments like match sticks, the whole island has taken a battering. Cars and trucks were floating away like toys," she said, adding that the storm had battered the island for more than eight hours on Sunday.
Connolly said that while there had been no official death toll, "residents were calling the radio stations to report about deaths."
She said the authorities were on Monday using bulldozers and other heavy equipment in a bid to clear roads that had been under 20 feet of water when the waves rushed through the streets on the island.
"I don't know when the Cayman Islands will ever be like it was before, " she said noting that the British Dependent Territory was now looking to Britain for assistance in the aftermath of the hurricane that has killed at least 60 people during its passage through the Caribbean.
Connolly said that the buildings in the Cayman Islands, known internationally for its banking system, had been constructed under strict building codes and it was "indescribable" the manner in which the buildings were blown away.
She said that the hurricane shelters that were constructed to withstand winds of more than 200 miles per hour had been badly damaged.
"It is unimaginable. We are devastated. The sea went through apartments," the journalist, clearly emotional, said.