The story of the 1932 Storm aftermath continued

The hurricane that hit the Cayman Islands in November 1932, known as the 1932 Cuba hurricane, or in the Cayman Islands as the 1932 Storm, was a Category 4 hurricane that hit Cayman Brac on the evening of Nov. 8 wreaking widespread destruction and death.

In its Aug. 17, 1966 edition in the “From Teacher Hill’s Clippings” column, the Caymanian Weekly began publishing Commissioner E.A. Weston’s report on the impact of the storm as told to the Assembly of Justices and Vestry. Last week, the Compass published the first part of the Commissioner’s account of the toll on the Sister Islands which appeared on Sept. 13, 1966, which continued as follows:

“The main supply depot will remain at the Channel, which will also be the distributing centre for that end of the island. It is in charge of Mr. Marson. Local supply depots have also been established at Stake Bay, and the Creek, and are in satisfactory working order. The number of rations (counting two children as one full ration) are approximately Creek 800, Stake Bay 100, Channel 300.

“As all stores and private supplies on the island have been wiped out of existence, everyone must draw from Government supplies. But there are families who are able and anxious to pay as soon as facilities for receiving payment can be instituted. This will be arranged on my next visit to the island.

“Consumable stores sufficient for six weeks have been put ashore at each depot – two weeks’ supplies to be kept in reserve for use in the event of any temporary breakdown in the supply service from George Town.

“In order to link up the various parts of the island which are at present isolated from one another, I have ordered the cutting of a 4 foot bridle path along the length of the island, immediately under the Bluff, with occasional feeder paths out to the beach. This is only a temporary expedient, but will prove of the utmost value in distributing stores on occasions when landing is only possible at the Channel. The work is in charge of Mr. Loxley Arch, who has been sent by me to the Brac to assist the Collector.

“Mr. Arch has completed a substantial shack from the debris of the old building to serve as temporary Government offices at Stake Bay, and in many other ways has been of great service to the Collector and to the community at the Brac.

“Before he leaves, Mr. Arch will make a general survey of the housing situation there, so that an approximate estimate may be formed of the magnitude of my work of reconstruction. At the present time, the tents and blankets loaned by the Regiment from Jamaica are providing a temporary relief to the people.

“The fresh water supply at Stake Bay is still seriously inadequate and it will be necessary for the Cimboco to land regular supplies there until conditions can be improved. In other parts of the Brac, the fresh water conditions, though difficult, are not serious.

“Both the schools have been totally demolished, but open air classes have been started at the Creek.

“As regards Little Cayman, the plight of this small community of some seventy persons is no less distressing than in the Brac, though fortunately no lives were lost there during the hurricane.

“About six battered homes remain standing, all of which, I believe, I visited when I was ashore from the Nunoca. It was evening and the houses were crowded with people whose homes had gone. Consumable stores for six weeks have been put ashore, and a further supply of tents and sheeting is being despatched by the Cimboco.

“Up to the present only emergency measures have been taken which are necessary to meet the immediate needs of the situation which has so suddenly arisen at this Dependency. These measures alone cost over 100 pounds a week, and many weeks must pass before any reduction can begin to be introduced. Yet we are only on the fringe of the big problems of reconstruction that face this Government for solution and the general policy which is to be adopted calls for early consideration and decision.

“In the meantime, the resources of the Government must be husbanded and all expenditure must be carefully watched. The people of these islands are facing a long future of great hardship and privation with wonderful spirit and determination, and they can be assured that every assistance which can be afforded by Government will be readily and sympathetically forthcoming.”

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