Ed and Cherie Auger, who serve at Safe Habour Community Lutheran Church in Grand Cayman, shared the following update after Hurricane Paloma passed the island on Nov. 7.
“We are pleased to inform you that Grand Cayman was spared serious damage as Category 3 Hurricane Paloma veered 18 miles to the east as it approached the island on Friday, Nov. 7. We did experience hurricane-force winds, but not the rain and storm surge originally predicted.
“After finishing hurricane preparations in the parsonage and church offices, we spent 24 hours with Ronnie and Ruth Anglin in their well-constructed West Bay home. We were able to return to our home and begin the process of cleaning up and setting things back in place on Saturday morning. This morning, we thanked God in our worship service for His protection, but also offered prayers for His compassionate response to the population of our sister island, Cayman Brac. Cayman Brac is approximately 1 mile wide and 10 miles long, with a permanent population of between 1500 – 2000 people.
“Cayman Brac is generally regarded as one of the premier destination scuba diving locations in the world. It has some unique ecological characteristics and provides a home base for countless species of marine birds. We visited Cayman Brac for the first time less than two weeks ago. Paloma was a category 4 storm when it made landfall on ‘the Brac.’ Initial reports indicate that at least 65 percent of the homes on the small island were either damaged or destroyed. The government continues to assess the damage.
“About 1,500 feet of the 5,000-foot runway at the airport was under water, which prevented the larger Cayman Airways jets from landing with relief supplies. However, relief efforts are underway. Privately owned boats are departing Grand Cayman this afternoon for the 90-mile trip with the first wave of relief supplies. Cherie and I [Ed] had the opportunity to take the remainder of our hurricane supplies, some food, water, blue tarp, etc. to the harbour where the boats were loading this afternoon. The photo above shows a boat loaded for departure today. Members of Safe Harbour are responding with goods and services to the critical needs of fellow Caymanians. Long term relief efforts will be essential for the recovery of the island population and land. We will share more news as it becomes available. Please pray for God’s blessings upon the residents of Cayman Brac and also the residents of the island of Cuba who have been hit with yet another major storm this year. Thank you for your prayers for us and interest in the ministry of Safe Harbour Community Lutheran Church.”