Update, 3:10 p.m. EDT: A public relations spokesperson for the Turks and Caicos Islands confirms what was feared: that Grand Turk, as well as Salt Cay and South Caicos, bore the brunt of Hurricane Ike -- and that "damages are extensive." Full information on the status of the cruise port on Grand Turk is expected to be available tomorrow -- but we'll let you know if we hear anything else before then.
Though power is back up on much of the island of Providenciales, which receives the bulk of tourists, reports on stormcarib.com indicate that customers on other islands might not see restoration of electricity for up to six weeks.
(11 a.m. EDT) -- While Hurricane Ike continues to batter the Caribbean, Grand Turk is dealing with the aftermath of the powerful storm -- but there's still minimal information available on the full extent of damage on the island or how the Grand Turk Cruise Center, built and owned by Carnival Corporation, fared in the storm.
Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Vance Gulliksen told us this morning: "We have had few queries go out and we are waiting to hear back on the situation there." At this time, the spokesman was unable to say what, if any, damage had occurred to the cruise center.
Carnival launched Grand Turk's state-of-the art cruise center in 2006; it features a swimming pool, restaurant and bar as well as its own FlowRider surf simulator. The facility welcomes ships from the Carnival Corp. including lines such as Princess Cruises and Holland America; Grand Turk is also a port of call for a number of other lines. We can't help but wonder if a rebuild on the same scale of Costa Maya will be needed.
Indeed, from the little we have heard, it seems the island itself hasn't fared well -- according to The Bahama Journal, a portion of the roof on the hospital in Grand Turk caved in, forcing officials to find alternative accommodations for patients.
The Bahama Journal also reported that hundreds lost their roofs and fishermen lost boats as the hurricane's eye passed just south of the small, low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands. At least 80 percent of the homes on Grand Turk have been damaged.
A spokesperson for Grand Turk has told us they will share information as soon as it is available.
We will keep you posted as we learn more on the status of Grand Turk.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Update: Grand Turk Damage Report
September 8, 2008