Tortola, BVI, November 13, 2008 (DDM) - Hurricane Paloma, the 16th named storm and the 8th hurricane for 2008, left the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with widespread damage as it passed on Saturday November 8th as a Category 3 hurricane. Ninety to 95 percent of homes, businesses, churches, and public buildings were damaged, some beyond repair. Recovery efforts commenced shortly after the passage of the storm to distribute relief supplies and restore electricity and water to the islands.
The Government of the Cayman Islands implemented an overnight curfew, which extended from Saturday evening to Sunday morning as a safety precaution for the residents of the islands and to allow emergency services to go about their business without hindrance. It was reported that damage on Grand Cayman was minimal.
Paloma went on to affect Cuba as a category 4 hurricane and the 5th hurricane to hit Cuba this season. It left billions worth of damage and destruction to thousands of homes, however there were no reports of fatalities. Cuban officials reported that at least 85,000 boarding school students were evacuated and half a million people were forced to move from high risk coastal areas.
Over 1,400 shelters were opened and rainfall accumulations were recorded at 167 millimeters. Sea water surged about 1 mile inland along the coast. Waves more than 10 feet leveled 50 homes in the coastal community of Santa Cruz del Sur. Paloma weakened to a Tropical Storm before it headed for Bahamas.
Contact: Natasha Lettsome
Information & Training Manager
Department of Disaster Management
#3 Wailing Road MacNamara Tortola
British Virgin Islands