Cayman needs national disaster plan

I write once more to make a plea for our government to up the ante and seriously embark on a practical (even if in phases) national disaster plan. I make this appeal based on what is happening regionally and worldwide due to climate change.

In Puerto Rico, for example, the island has not even begun to recover from hurricane damage and yet is now confronted by challenges of recovery from a disastrous earthquake. In Australia, a prosperous country prior to the bush fires, hundreds of farmers face bankruptcy as a result of farms lost in fire.

These are but two glaring examples of what can happen due to climate change.

In these islands, rising sea levels, pollution from a proliferation of automobiles, rising sea levels, destruction of the mangroves from greed through ever-increasing building of expensive apartments for the rich and now, most ridiculously, the development of a regiment to assist in times of disaster.

I propose the establishment of at least one hurricane-resistant shelter in each district.
The establishment of civilian defence units trained to international (Red Cross) standards

A rapid response team of medical experts, psychologists, counsellors, etc., in case of large-scale national disaster.

Now is the appropriate time to begin such action, especially as our finances can sustain such an investment. Delay is dangerous and only fools believe that we can “dodge a bullet” every hurricane season.

J. A. Roy Bodden

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  1. We at Hazard Management Cayman Islands would like to draw residents’ attention to the National Hazard Management Plan which is located on the website in the ‘Resources Section.’ We certainly concur with Mr. Bodden that more work and action needs to take place to face the climate change threat and associated sea level rise. The National Weather Service, Hazard Management and Department of Environment are all in full agreement that climate change issue is real, and it is a significant threat – particularly because both Grand Cayman and Little Cayman are generally low lying.
    In the letter, Mr. Bodden advocated for the establishment of at least one hurricane resistant shelter in each district. There are currently 18 Emergency Shelters in the Cayman Islands and this includes a shelter in every district in Grand Cayman (please see the full list here: Hazard Management is working to increase shelter capacity and anticipates that two additional shelters will be coming on line later in 2020.
    Mr. Bodden also called for the establishment of civilian defence units trained to international Red Cross standards. Again we can confirm that a trained Red Cross National Intervention Team already exists here in the Cayman Islands and is ready to go operational when needed. Additionally HMCI and Red Cross have been working to establish Community Emergency Response Teams in the districts, and also to incorporate volunteer/civic organisations in the disaster management structure to support response and recovery efforts.
    Finally, Mr. Bodden proposed that a rapid response team of medical experts, psychologists, counsellors, etc., be established to assist in the event of a large-scale national disaster. Hazard Management is leading the effort to create a rapid deployment team for the overseas territories which includes medical experts and other persons with relevant post impact skills and specialist knowledge. Additionally this year we can confirm that trained mental health counsellors/psychologists will be available in the Emergency Shelters.
    At Hazard Management Cayman Islands we appreciate Mr. Bodden taking the time to articulate his concerns and to propose sensible solutions to the very real threats we face. Additionally the staff at HMCI has great respect for Mr. Bodden’s work as an author of several insightful books, his career and service as the Chancellor of the College, and for his contribution as a compassionate and dedicated representative of the people of Bodden Town and the Cayman Islands as a whole.

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