A new sub–committee created under the 2006 National Hurricane Plan
will prepare economic impact assessments, ideally within 45 days after
the all–clear is given following the passing of a storm.
Hurricane Committee Chairman Donovan Ebanks stressed the need to
quickly establish economic losses caused by a disaster.
passes, people tend to forget what happened [as a result of a storm],”
he said. “The opportunities for external assistance are progressively
“The sooner comprehensive and reputable information can
be given to the outside world, the greater the opportunities for
assistance,” he said.
Mr. Ebanks said that those who might give
aid “won’t just respond to stories in the newspaper” and that they need
to see some sort of official report.
After Hurricane Ivan, there
was no procedure in place for conducting an economic impact study, said
Economic Impact Assessment Sub–committee Chairman Stran Bodden.
team from the United Nations–related Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean eventually came to Cayman more than two
months after Hurricane Ivan to conduct an economic impact study on the
storm. That report was not released until December 2004, three months
after the hurricane.
Mr. Bodden, who was then heading up Cayman’s
Economics and Statistics Office, said he worked closely with the ECLAC
team while it was conducting the study here. He also said he received
training in the methodology of conducting such economic impact
The work of the sub–committee will actually be
before an approaching hurricane. Based on factors such as the strength,
direction and forward speed of a storm, the sub–committee would try to
identify the areas of greatest threat. This task will be made much
easier with the development of a new computerised storm surge model for
the Cayman Islands – called KAOS – which is expected to be completed by
the end of the year.
After the storm, the Economic Impact
sub–committee will conduct an immediate damage assessment within 24
hours after the all–clear is issued following the storm.
just a quick snapshot of the damage, but it will be critical to the
government for running things in the future,” Mr. Bodden said.
assessment would primarily look at publicly owned and leased
properties, paying close attention to vital assets like the hospital,
the airport and the roads, Mr. Bodden said.
A variety of
organisations, including the Public Works Department, the Lands and
Survey Department and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit would
assist in the initial damage report, with the latter conducting an
aerial damage assessment,
The initial survey would be followed by
a preliminary damage assessment, which is hoped to be completed within
four days after all–clear is given.
At this point, it is
anticipated the District Emergency Response sub–committees will have
had a chance to begin assessing damages in their districts, giving the
Economic Impact Assessment sub–committee an idea of which areas were
impacted the most.
A recovery assessment would then be prepared within 14 days of the all–clear.
“This is where we would begin the valuation work,” Mr. Bodden said.
assisting in the process would include the Public Works Department,
Building Control, the MRCU, the Economics and Statistics Office and
Lands and Survey.
A private sector organisation, Cayman Society
of Architects, Surveyors & Engineers, would also provide technical
assistance and advice as necessary.
The long term assessment,
which would include an economic impact report, is anticipated to be
completed within 45 days after the all–clear is issued.
Bodden said that although his sub–committee will do the work on the
economic impact assessment, it would do it in consultation with ECLAC.
do envision inviting ECLAC back [to the Cayman Islands],” Mr. Bodden
said, explaining that ECLAC’s stamp of approval on the report would
lend it credibility.
NHC Chairman Mr. Ebanks clarified ECLAC’s role.
“They would be doing more of a certification audit on whatever we have done,” he said.
Bodden said he had confidence in his sub–committee, working
cooperatively with the ESO, to produce an accurate economic impact
“[The elements of the report] are things we have done before,” he said.
One potential problem point of the timeline occurs with all of the timing being linked to the all–clear.
Hurricane Ivan, the all–clear was not given for more than two weeks.
Mr. Ebanks explained that with Ivan, the all–clear was delayed because
of issues dealing with wanting to remain under a state of emergency for
“The all–clear should really be linked to weather conditions,” he said.