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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
Picking up pieces in Ivan's trail
A man collecting what remains of his home near Kingston, Jamaica (12 Sept 04)
Hurricane Ivan caused widespread damage in Jamaica
More than a week after Hurricane Ivan cut a swathe across the Caribbean, many people are still facing an uphill struggle to rebuild their shattered lives.

Relief operations focused initially on restoring electricity and water supplies to villages isolated by violent storms.

Aid workers have also been distributing relief supplies, including tarpaulins, to communities in Jamaica and Grenada to help people patch up ripped roofs.

France's government says it will grant 300,000 euros ($360,000) in aid to the two islands.

A spokeswoman from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Jamaica told BBC News Online that Hurricane Ivan had broken crucial electricity supplies which fuelled water pumps across the island.

Risk assessment

Two flights carrying aid equipment - including kitchen sets, blankets, water containers, hygiene kits, tarpaulins and flashlights - have recently arrived, she said.

"It is slowly returning to normal here," the spokeswoman said.

"Schools are starting to reopen. But it is difficult - many people are still living in shelters whilst they wait for the government to rebuild their homes."

In Grenada, where the prime minister declared a state of emergency, the UN says some 274 shelters have been set up.

UN officials have arrived to assess the damage to the country's crops and the risk to human health from contaminated water supplies.

The Red Cross is providing emergency food packages, water purification tablets and plastic sheeting.

'Shock'

In the wealthy Cayman Islands - where one in five houses was destroyed beyond repair - a huge clean-up operation is underway to collect debris strewn across the island.

A Cayman Islands government spokesman based in London said electricity, telephone and fax lines had been restored in the capital and international flights were already operating.

"This is a major shock to the Cayman islands," Steve John told BBC News Online.

"But the focus now is to restore security, water, sewage and electricity services."

He said reports of looting and disorder on the island were exaggerated.

BBC News Online has received emails from island residents who say the situation is far worse than the authorities have portrayed.




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