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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
'We thought we were going to die'
Aerial view of the Caymans after Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan caused widespread devastation on Grand Cayman
Hurricane Ivan tore through the Cayman Islands last weekend.

The centre of the category five hurricane passed within 30 miles (48km) of Grand Cayman - one of three islands of the British dependency - leaving it devastated.

Two British expats living on Grand Cayman told BBC News Online about their terrifying experience and the scene of destruction the hurricane left in its wake.


Wayne Jones, 34, is a caterer in Grand Cayman. He is originally from Manchester.

Hurricane Ivan was the most terrifying thing you can ever imagine.

The whole island of Grand Cayman is destroyed. There is no water or electricity. The hospitals are in a very bad state. People are using pool water to flush their toilets.

My fiancée and I left for the Bahamas on a chartered plane on Wednesday, having endured three harrowing days in our house as it was destroyed around us.

Half of the roof collapsed and the whole house was flooded with between two to three feet of water.

The whole house will have to be rebuilt. But there are thousands of others like us, who are now homeless.

The best way for many of us to contribute to the recovery of our island is to leave and allow the emergency services to do their work and get help to those who need it most.

The hurricane landed on Saturday night and effectively continued right through to Monday.

We were alive - that was all that mattered
The most harrowing elements to deal with during the storm itself were the wind and the flooding.

As the water started coming in and as the wind tore off plywood, smashed in windows, and blew one side of our roof off, we moved from one room to another to try to find safety.

At one stage, my fiancée and I even turned to each other and said goodbye as we thought: if that flood keeps rising, we're gone. We thought we were going to die.

I know one man that held two of his children above his head for six hours to spare them from the rising flood.

We stayed in our mostly destroyed house for three days and came out on Monday to a scene of devastation.

We just walked around to the other destroyed houses on our streets checking to see if everybody was all right.

We were alive. That was all that mattered.


The other British expat asked not to be identified because of the nature of his job.

The devastation across the island is immense. After seeing it it's hard to imagine how the island will bounce back.

But my wife and I love it here, we have a house here which was fortunately only flooded on the ground floor, and we want to stay.

At the moment there's only one supermarket up and running, selling certain goods that are rationed. There's also a restriction on how much you can spend at one time.

The first proper hot food we had was on Wednesday night, when we cooked bacon using a gas stove.

All we've had apart from that are noodles, sandwiches and tinned peaches.

People still don't have any power or water but they are working on it.

None of the destroyed property had been sifted yet, there's no huge clear-up as such yet as they are trying to restore power as the priority.

You hear on the radio that people are still looking for missing relatives and friends, but you never hear whether they have been found.

We knew this was a hurricane place when we moved here last year but this was unprecedented, they say it far outstripped the hurricane of 1932.

A lot of UK expats have been flown out by their companies, but the gutting thing is the British authorities have done nothing it seems.

The Canadian government sent a plane, and others have come to take people back to Jamaica, Honduras and the US.

The hurricane itself was absolutely horrendous. I've never been through anything like it.

It was like a freight train going past your house for 36 hours.

By mid-morning on Sunday it was really going and suddenly the water rose 4ft in 20 minutes.

We thought about the roof, we just thought if we stayed close to the house, made it onto the roof...

We knew the navy was around and would have helicopters.

We'd been ringing our families intermittently. Once it got to that point we were saying our goodbyes.

We told them we were okay but that if anything happened we wanted them to know that we loved them.




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