There are only enough Hurricane shelters to hold about 8% of Cayman’s population. Hazard Management Cayman Islands leaders say they plan to find more places to keep residents safe in the event of a storm.
Should a devastating storm head Cayman’s way, Cayman’s hurricane shelters can hold only 5000 of the country’s 63, 000 residents.
Hazard Management’s Simon Boxall said that needs to change.
“We’re going to be approaching the MLA’s who have their insights in their own districts and communities to see what sort of availability there is, so we’re really looking at all options,” said Mr. Boxall.
Mr. Boxall said in the past, school halls were used, but that’s not always ideal.
“Sometimes it’s taken over a month to get shelterees out of the schools and so that prevents schools from resuming normally and getting their students back in the classrooms,” said Mr. Boxall.
The issue came to the fore during Wednesday’s (2 May) hurricane preparedness exercise, where Mr. Boxall said there are also plans to improve weather forecasting.
“One of the areas that the weather service is trying to work on is the capacity for us to actually measure storm surge because at the moment the U.S government is only giving products to the U.S coastal states and U.S islands so we can’t accurately determine the height of the storm surge,” said Mr. Boxall.
And in the event of a major storm, partnerships with other British Overseas Territories are key.
“You know we recognize how important it is when one of the islands is kind of brought to its knees by an impact that the other overseas territories provides some sort of support if they are able to do so,” said Mr. Boxall.
Mr. Boxall said exercises like these are important, because of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Hurricane season begins on 1 June.