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Cayman Islands: Natural Disasters

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the UK has provided to the Cayman Islands to help (a) prevent significant damage from and (b) respond to (i) earthquakes and (ii) other future natural disasters.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State

The British Government works closely with its Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands, to help build local resilience to disasters. The Governor's Office and Hazard Management Cayman Islands jointly develop policy and deliver operational responses to disasters.

Recent initiatives include a Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded project to develop a more effective early warning system to provide timely information to the public during sudden onset disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. The Governor's Office alongside the Ministry of Defence are also developing a new Defence Regiment in the Cayman Islands which will provide a step change in the support available to the civilian authorities following a disaster. In addition the United Kingdom is supporting projects on public information campaigns, training for first responders and the provision of new satellite emergency communications equipment. In 2019 the United Kingdom part funded the purchase and running costs of a new helicopter for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Air Operations Unit. This enables the authorities to provide effective damage assessments, search and rescue and medevac services in Cayman and other British Overseas Territories following disasters. The helicopter was used to provide emergency relief in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and for damage assessments following the earthquake which struck the Cayman Islands on 28 January. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, RFA Mounts Bay, has been deployed to the region for the past 3 years and has provided immediate humanitarian assistance to the three British Overseas Territories, Anguilla, the BVI and TCI which were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 as well as to the Bahamas in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. RFA Mounts Bay will be replaced in March 2020 by other Ministry of Defence naval vessel.

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