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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Grand Cayman disorder after Ivan
Powerlines down across a street in Georgetown, Grand Cayman
A lack of electricity has hindered the rebuilding process.
The Cayman Islands government has rejected calls for military help to quell looting after Hurricane Ivan.

Reports say recovery is difficult because of looting on the largest island, Grand Cayman.

But a Cayman Islands government spokesman said there was no need for US military help and instead called for humanitarian support.

Winds of over 250km/h (150mph) hit the islands on Sunday night, demolishing buildings, including official shelters.

Devastation

The centre of the category five hurricane passed within 30 miles (48km) of Grand Cayman, one of three islands of the British dependency, and residents have been left without electricity or running water.

A quarter of Grand Cayman was submerged by flood waters, according to the Foreign Office.

Two humanitarian advisers from Britain are currently in the Caribbean to assess the situation.

Initial estimates by the Department for International Development suggest that 15-20% of residential houses on the islands have been completely destroyed and 20% have major damage.

Relief Effort

The department has also supplied three million water purification tablets as well as 50 chainsaws, 500 camp cots for children and plastic sheeting.

The Cayman Netnews web site is reporting that looting has taken place along Eastern Avenue in the capital and that huge waves have swept across the streets.

And residents are said to have called for military assistance.

Steve John, UK press spokesman for the Cayman Islands government, says reports of looting have been exaggerated.

Aerial view of the Caymans after Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan caused widespread devastation on Grand Cayman

He said: "The island is lawful and peaceful and the reports of looting are only sporadic.

"We do not believe there is a need for US military assistance - what we need is assistance from our friends around the world on humanitarian relief to get supplies to the island."

A British man living on Grand Cayman fears that a humanitarian disaster could take place if nothing is done to rebuild the infrastructure on the island.

Martin Tedd, 49, an engineer working for a water company on the island, has lived on Grand Cayman for the last eight years.

Although he cannot be reached at present, his father, Brian, 78, relayed his son's conditions.

He said: "Conditions there are extremely difficult - Martin phoned me in the middle of the night to say that there seems to be a lack of awareness about the desperation there.

"He's down to his last 10 meals and said there doesn't seem to be a single power line left standing.

"He was very concerned and didn't want to leave his property unguarded because of looting."

'Desperate' situation

Outlining the devastation described by his son, he added: "The situation is pretty desperate. There's no access to food.

"The only supermarket that's open had queues miles long and had armed guards."

An overnight curfew in Grand Cayman is in place in a bid to maintain civil obedience after dark due to the lack of electricity.

The Cayman Islands consists of three islands which are home to around 45,000 people.

The two other islands - Cayman Brac and Little Cayman - suffered far less damage.

Two British naval vessels, HMS Richmond and RFA Wave Ruler, are providing supplies to the islands and assisting relief efforts.

The Foreign Office advices against all but essential travel to the Cayman Islands.


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