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Turks and Caicos government responds to widespread flooding
Published on August 26, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Floodwater too deep for vehicles to pass on North Caicos

A flooded house on North Caicos

Makeshift measures to counter a leaking roof at an airport restroom on Providenciales

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government has moved to respond to widespread flooding resulting from heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Cristobal.

Cristobal hovered over the TCI over the weekend and dumped some 12 inches of rain on the archipelago, with the worst hit islands being North Caicos and Providenciales, the latter being the most populous island.

There has been one fatality, with a body recovered from floodwater in the downtown area of Providenciales.

Two emergency shelters have been opened.

Flight operations at Providenciales International Airport have been suspended for arrival and departure of aircraft both domestically and internationally due to intermittent downpours, poor visibility and wind gusts, which continue to generate cross winds that are hazardous to the safety of passengers and aircraft. However, the airport remains fully staffed, with flights expected to resume when the weather eventually breaks on Tuesday.

All non emergency civil servants were instructed to remain at home on Monday, and all banks were closed.

Of major concern to the government will be the airport, which has come in for massive criticism from the public, who have complained about the failure of the new structure to withstand a typical annual downpour. Additionally, with the rise in sea levels, the state of beach erosion on Grace Bay will be of paramount concern, as passing storms have caused severe erosion in recent years.

Public concern has also been expressed about the ability of the already damaged causeway linking Middle Caicos with North Caicos, which was largely washed away during Hurricane Hanna in 2008 and is yet to be repaired. Currently there is no pavement on the causeway leaving the earthen roadbed vulnerable to heavy rainfall.
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