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Disaster supplies kit

Published 27th November 2013, 4:46pm

Hurricane season is winding down but residents are reminded that the Cayman Islands is vulnerable to a range of hazards and hurricanes are certainly not the only threat. It is important to retain a stock of non-perishable food and water rations all year long, not just during the period from the beginning of June to the end of November.

In terms of natural hazards, earthquakes are considered the number two threat to residents in the Cayman Islands, with significant earthquake events having been recorded in 1843, 1849, and 1900. More recently residents experienced a 6.8 magnitude event in December 2004. Fortunately, the epicentre was located 20 miles away from George Town, and while the shaking was quite strong, there were no reports of injuries or significant damage to structures.

A tsunami is a considered a relatively infrequent threat compared to hurricanes, but the Cayman Islands is also exposed to this hazard as well, so we should understand the threat and take precautions. There have been 10 documented tsunamis occurring along the 3000 mile plate boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates since the time of Columbus, and this same plate boundary runs just south of the Cayman Islands. While there are no tsunami events (that we know for certain) that impacted the Cayman Islands, there are several recorded tsunamis which occurred nearby in Jamaica and on the south coast of Cuba. In 1856 there was a tsunami generated by an earthquake off Roatan that produced a wave which ran as much as 24 kilometers onto the mainland of Central America.

Floods, fires, chemical spills and other threats all have the potential to disrupt our lives, so while it seems likely we will pass through the 2013 hurricane season unscathed; residents still need to remain vigilant and prepared.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) is actively involved in public awareness campaigns in the schools, with Government agencies, health care workers and private sector businesses. In addition to hazard awareness, HMCI can also offer business continuity planning seminars and assistance with the formulation of disaster plans. Please contact HMCI at 244-3145 to make arrangements or for more information.