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Turks and Caicos Update Hurricane Ike Moves On;
Main Island, Providenciales, Back in Business

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, British West Indies, Sep 08, 2008 - The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board is pleased to announce that Hurricane Ike has passed completely and tropical storm warnings are discontinued. We wish to express our gratitude to persons who inquired about the destination's well-being during this trying period. 

As previously reported, Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos--where damages are extensive--bore the brunt of Hurricane Ike. There are no reports of injuries or fatalities. 

In Providenciales, effects on private citizens' property, and government and tourism establishments are limited. Providenciales' phone service and power in the Grace Bay area are restored while Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is now open for emergency flights. 
We are fortunate the majority of our tourism infrastructure on Providenciales is intact as no resorts, restaurants or other structures have suffered significant damage. Many of our hotel and restaurant partners are expected to reopen this week. 

We are eager to restore normality as soon as possible under the circumstances and look forward to extending the warm hospitality the Turks & Caicos Islands has become synonymous with very shortly. 

The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board and the Turks & Caicos Islands Government's Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies will finalize a complete assessment of Hurricane Ike's impact in the coming days. We will provide further updates at that time. 

September 8, 2008 - A Royal Navy Warship will arrive in a hurricane-hit British territory in the Caribbean today to help the relief effort. HMS Iron Duke is on course for the Turks and Caicos Islands which have been devastated first by Hurricane Hanna and yesterday morning by Hurricane Ike. When the ship arrives at the luxury tourist destination today, rescue teams will go ashore while a Lynx helicopter will assess damage from the air.

Premier Michael Misick said Ike made an almost direct hit on the Grand Turk island, damaging 80% of homes. He said hundreds of people lost their roofs and many were cowering in cupboards and under stairwells "just holding on for life".There have been no reports of deaths or injuries.

When Ike hit, residents were still clearing up after a four-day battering from Hurricane Hanna earlier in the week. Many tourists and locals had fled at warnings of a further hurricane but some were trapped after the airport was closed yesterday.

HMS Iron Duke's Captain, Commander Mark Newland, said: "Ahead of our arrival, we have conducted some outline planning, familiarised ourselves with the Turks and Caicos national disaster plan and opened dialogue with the local emergency authorities." He said the ship was in the Turks and Caicos Islands just two weeks ago to discuss disaster relief planning with the government. "We can now mobilise our teams more effectively and with much greater speed, knowing the exact areas of expertise required."

The ship has been deployed to the Caribbean region since late June, involved in the fight against drug smugglers.

As the hurricane hit, the British Red Cross launched a fundraising appeal for the islands, where 750 from a population of 12,000, had already lost their homes in the previous storms. British Red Cross overseas territory manager Clive Evans said: "These islands have not seen storms like this for 48 years, so many buildings in the poorer communities are unlikely to be able to withstand a Category 3 or 4 hurricane."


 The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board 
Jenn Myres



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