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Help for Tomas Survivors

The Premier, Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP.

Statement from

The Premier, Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP,

Regarding Hurricane Tomas Appeal

Monday, 8 November 2010

As we in the Caribbean collectively breathe a sigh of relief, now that Tomas is no longer a storm threat, we also regret the loss of life and the millions of dollars in damage left in its wake.

Having gone through similar experiences with Hurricanes Ivan and Paloma, the people of the Cayman Islands empathise with our friends and family in St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Barbados; Haiti; and Cuba.

We know the challenges and the gargantuan rebuilding effort that they now face.

In St. Lucia, one of the first Caribbean nations hit by Tomas, 14 lives were lost and several others are still missing. St. Lucian Prime Minister Stephenson King estimates that rebuilding will cost $500 million, and that it will be a year before reconstruction in some of the hardest hit areas of his island will be completed.

Those in Haiti, who were already struggling to survive following January's epic earthquake and the recent cholera outbreak, must now be at wit's end as they face the added misery that Tomas' flood waters brought this past weekend.

As these countries complete their damage assessments, we know their need for regional and international assistance will only increase. Consequently, the Cayman Islands Government is doing our part to assist our Caribbean neighbours.

My office is spearheading a drive to gather much-needed supplies for the affected Caribbean Islands. We hope to send these items on a special Cayman Airways charter scheduled for Wednesday, 10 November.

But we cannot do it without your help, and so I appeal to every resident and to all our good corporate citizens in the private sector for your assistance as well.

Working in close partnership with the Red Cross, we have a goal to collect the following items by close of business on Tuesday, 9 November:

  • Cases of water;
  • water purification tablets;
  • dry, preserved and canned food (especially evaporated milk);
  • blankets, sleeping bags and bedding (sheets, comforters, etc.);
  • lanterns and flashlights, with the right-sized batteries;
  • small transistor radios;
  • adult and infant disposable diapers and wipes;
  • female sanitary products;
  • baby food and formula;
  • cleaning supplies (including sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer), etc.; and
  • water containers and flasks.

These items can be dropped off at the Red Cross, on Huldah Avenue or Cayman Airways Cargo facility on Airport Road.

The hymn No Man Is an Island is one of my favourites, because it reminds us that we are our brother's keeper; we are not alone in our journeys upon this planet.

Many in the region rallied to Cayman's aid during our time of need in the months following Ivan and Paloma. Now, it's our chance to return good for good.

I implore you to remember those who did not escape the destruction of Tomas.

Please give what you can, and please continue to pray for our Caribbean neighbours as they rebuild their homes, their economies, and their lives.

Thank you!