People who refuse to leave unsafe areas when evacuation is ordered during a hurricane will be arrested.
That’s just one of the provisions spelled out in the evacuation portion of the new Cayman Islands Hurricane Plan.
procedures and policies concerning evacuations in advance of
approaching hurricanes have been refined in the 2006 National Hurricane
Plan and include such elements as developing and maintaining a manifest
of passengers and flight numbers of those being evacuated.
The Hurricane Plan also provides for mandatory evacuation of residents or people residing or staying in areas declared unsafe.
revamped plan, which was released to the media on Tuesday, takes into
account many of the lessons learned through the Hurricane Ivan
“[The plan] looks to address various shortcomings
that Ivan exposed,” said National Hurricane Committee Chairman Donovan
Ebanks. “It still doesn’t mean it’s a foolproof plan… but it brings it
up to addressing the major shortcomings.”
One of those
shortcomings as it relates to evacuations concerned not knowing who had
left the island before and after Ivan hit, and where they had gone.
very important to know who has left the island so we don’t get in a
situation where we’re searching for someone,” Mr. Ebanks said.
responsibility for preparing the list will fall to the chairperson of
the Evacuation Committee, who is the Director General of Civil Aviation
The Committee member representing Cayman Airways,
the CEO of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority and the Director of
Tourism will all assist with the effort.
The new Joint
Communication Services will receive a copy of the manifests of all
flights leaving the Cayman Islands, including charter flights, and will
make sure they are made available in Miami through the appropriate
While some people will evacuate the island, others will have to evacuate their premises for other shelter.
Hurricane Committee member and chairman of the National Emergency
Management Agency Kirkland Nixon said the word evacuation was really
not appropriate in the case for those staying on the island for a
hurricane because it could be confused with those who left the island.
“We should call it ‘moving to a place of safety’,” he said.
the Emergency Powers Law, the Governor may declare – after a
recommendation from the Chairperson of the National Hurricane
Committee, who will have consulted with other members of the Committee
and weather officials – certain areas of the country unsafe and order
the evacuation of those areas. Persons failing to evacuate as ordered
would face arrest, possible conviction and penalties.
designation of unsafe areas will be made easier when a new storm surge
model that will identify flood zones is completed by the end of this
“The storm surge model will enable us to predict the impact of a storm heading for us,” said Mr. Ebanks.
storm surge model will take into consideration such factors as the
hurricane’s strength, the direction it is coming, its forward speed and
the tide levels at the time it is expected to pass the island.
a small portion of people will be able to evacuate the island in
approach of a hurricane (a little more than 2,000 evacuated prior to
Hurricane Ivan) and there are only about 4,000 spots available at Grand
Cayman’s hurricane shelters. Others will have to find safe shelter
Chief Meteorologist Fred Sambula said it is important
to know what safe shelter is in response to the threat. He noted that a
person could still drown in a strong building that is only one storey
and subjected to storm surge, while someone might be safe in a strong
two–storey building, even if it were close to the shore.
Royal Cayman Islands Police will handle the communication of evacuation
orders for those in affected areas on Grand Cayman by arranging for
radio and television broadcasts, through loud hailers and other
The Evacuation Committee will also coordinate
transportation of tourist and non–resident evacuees to the airport;
provide traffic control and security on all routes to the airport; and
help assist with arrangements and accommodation for those waiting to
Mr. Ebanks said Chief Immigration Office Franz
Manderson has been in contact with the United States Immigration and
Naturalisation Service to facilitate the evacuation of those with
passport issues, such as newborn babies.
Mr. Ebanks said the
National Hurricane Committee would try to communicate the need for
people to keep passports with them and dry during a hurricane so that
there are fewer passport issues for those trying to leave the island