Please hear our cry
By DAWN COHEN
MOTHER-OF-TWO Danielle Young, trapped in the hurricane-devastated Cayman Islands, is begging for help to escape the flattened Caribbean Island. What was a tropical paradise is now devoid of electricity, water, food or sewerage. Fearing for her children's safety from disease and rampant looting in the tiny British dependency, she called her Clunes parents yesterday to seek help from home. However, Delma and Kenneth Stebbing say Qantas and the Australian Foreign Office have been inattentive to their daughter's plight. Last night, Hurricane Ivan battered the US Gulf Coast after killing 26 in the Caribbean, mostly on Grenada. "Qantas initially quoted $35,000 for flights, because we have not pre-booked. The Foreign Office aren't doing anything. Nobody wants to hear us," Mrs Stebbing said. On Sunday, Hurricane Ivan, a category-five storm, with winds up to 250km/h, devastated the Cayman Islands, levelling many buildings and trees and destroying all infrastructure. "It's steaming hot, and its stinking with mould and damp," said Ms Young yesterday, speaking on a mobile phone connection from her four-bedroom apartment. The unit is sheltering three other homeless families, as well as her husband Chris and daughters Alexandra and Saskia. "I am begging to get my babies out. The prisoners have just burnt down the jail. There is raw sewerage, so dysentery is a worry," she said. The family camped in her barrister husband's offices with 47 others during the hurricane. "It was like Noah's Ark," said the 37-year-old Australian. "Crammed with adults, children and animals. There was a roaring, the building shook and buckled." As internal air pressure built up, all the windows shattered. "We evacuated to the basement, but the basement was already taking in water," Ms Young said. "People were screaming to be let in, but we had no more room. Looters wandered outside with machetes." A spokesperson for the Australian Foreign Office said they were monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, the Clunes Pre-School and public school have offered places to the Young's daughters on their arrival home. A Qantas spokesperson declined to comment yesterday.