MIAMI -- Even as Tropical Storm Jeanne strengthened over the northeastern Caribbean (100 miles southeast of St. Croix on Tuesday afternoon), damage assessments from Hurricane Ivan continued to flow in from the Caribbean.

The hurricane clipped the western tip of Cuba Monday night with gusts up to 180 mph, torrential rain and storm surges and headed for U.S. landfall by early Thursday morning, somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. In anticipation, Harrahs New Orleans Casino is closed until Friday morning, weather permitting.

The following is a roundup of damages on the islands, as far as they've been reported: 

Cayman Islands

According to an update from the Dept. of Tourism on Tuesday, dozens of people remain unaccounted for on Grand Cayman, a dusk-to-dawn curfew is in effect, up to half of the 15,000 homes on Grand Cayman are uninhabitable due to flooding and roof destruction, land phone lines are down, cell phones work sporadically and there is a severe shortage of drinking water.

The Dept. of Tourism offices were severely damaged and remain closed; many roads are obstructed with debris and sand; and Cayman Airways is operating emergency flights only into Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman from Houston, Miami and Tampa. There is no word yet on the status of the cruise port.

The Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman fared better than Grand Cayman and, in fact, are helping coordinate relief efforts. Gerrard Smith Airport on Cayman Brac is open for restricted flights only. Electricity is back up on the northern part of Cayman Brac.

Hotel reports from Grand Cayman are skimpy, but damage is high at many properties, according to unconfirmed reports which cited heavy roof damage at the Marriott, a side wall blown off at the Westin and flooding at Treasure Island and Sovereign Condominiums.

However, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman fared well, according to Victor Lopez, divisional vice-president for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. We had a lot of water damage but no structural or roof damage, and our beach suites on Seven Mile Beach are housing 82 hotel guests who did not want to evacuate, Lopez said. Until power is restored, the resort is closed.

Relief efforts are underway and information on where supplies can be sent is posted at www.caymanislands.ky. The Tortuga Rum Co.s Miami warehouse is a staging area for relief agencies and air freight companies. Supplies, including batteries; mosquito repellent and netting; tarps; bottled water; rain gear; diapers; and tents, can be shipped or dropped off at the warehouse at 14202 Southwest 142nd Ave., Miami 33186. For details, call (877) 486-7884 or (305) 378-6668.

Grenada

The 32-room Blue Horizons Garden Resort will be closed for four to six months for roof and water damage repairs, and the 66-room Spice Island Beach Resort will close for a year for repairs. Deposits at both resorts will be refunded when banking institutions are back on line. For information on either resort, call (800) 223-9815.

Air Jamaica, Air Caribes, LIAT and Caribbean Star have resumed limited commercial flights during daylight hours until runway lights can be restored. There is no public ground transportation, such as taxis or buses, at the airport. Customs, immigration and air traffic control are in operation. For information on relief efforts, contact [email protected] or call the Grenada Embassy in Washington, DC at (202) 265-2561. Shipments of food, water and supplies began arriving last weekend.

Jamaica

The cruise ports in both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios reopened Tuesday. A Princess Cruises ship will dock on Wednesday and a Royal Caribbean vessel also is expected. The cruise schedule will be back to normal next week, according to the Port Authority of Jamaica. 

Initial damage reports have begun to roll in from resorts. According to unconfirmed local sources, Negrils Ricks Cafe, Tensing Pen, Mariners Inn and Catch-a-Falling Star were damaged, as were the roof of the Treasure Beach Hotel, and seaside units at Island Outposts property Jakes, both on the South Coast.

However, a spokesperson for Island Outpost said all four of the high-end groups Jamaican properties survived Hurricane Ivan relatively intact, although initial reports suggested that outdoor decks on some seaside units at Jakes -- now closed -- were slightly damaged. Jakes guests were re-accommodated at Island Outposts Goldeneye resort, in Oracabessa on the north coast.

Meanwhile, the Caves in Negril, already shuttered for renovations, should reopen as planned come October. No damage was reported at Strawberry Hill, Island Outposts inland property in Jamaicas Blue Mountains.

Spared the worst of the storm, resorts in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio -- all on Jamaicas north coast -- apparently weathered it well. The Jamaica Tourist Board reported that water, power and electricity are being restored and most major hotels have reported limited or no structural damage. For example, the Ritz-Carlton and Round Hill hotels in Montego Bay -- as well as many Sandals, Beaches and SuperClubs resorts -- have reopened for business, according to sources.

SuperClubs said its Grand Lido Braco and Hedonism II resorts will accept new arrivals on Sept. 19, while Grand Lido Negril -- where the roof was reportedly severely damaged -- will reopen on Oct. 1. All other SuperClubs resorts in Jamaica remain open. Couples Resorts Negril property will reopen Sept. 19.

The 419-room Half Moon Montego Bay golf resort -- which turns 50 this year -- experienced only minimal effects -- such as downed trees and flooded fairways -- and some 150 guests remained on site, according to managing director Richard Whitfield. Anniversary events set for Sept. 26 to Oct. 3 at Half Moon will proceed as planned.

Meanwhile, although international airports in Montego Bay and Kingston are open and operating normally, Air Jamaica extended its penalty-free re-ticketing deadline to Sept. 30 for postponed vacations.

Details of Jamaicas response to Ivan can be viewed at www.visitjamaica.com.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Raffles Resort Canouan Island, which held its soft opening this summer, will reopen Nov. 1 and celebrate its grand opening Nov. 20.

Bahamas, Florida

Meanwhile, from Club Med Columbus Isle on San Salvador, Bahamas, comes word that the resort will reopen Dec. 18 when it completes storm repairs from Hurricane Frances -- remember that one -- and Club Med Sandpiper in Port St. Lucie, Fla., reopens Sept. 20.

Kenneth Kiesnoski contributed to this report.

To contact reporters Gay Nagle Myers or Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to[email protected]or[email protected].

 

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