Hurricane Beryl: Devastation & disruption across the Caribbean

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By Vishani Ragobeer
vishani@newsroom.gy

Countries across the Caribbean were battered by Hurricane Beryl, a monstrous Category 5 storm that ripped through the southeastern part of the region. And Guyanese living in or visiting those countries were among those affected by the hurricane.

Sunita Ghir, a Guyanese living in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for more than 15 years, was brought to tears after the hurricane devastated parts of the country.

Ghir said only her plantain and banana trees were uprooted when the heavy winds passed her community but Union Island, a place she lived when she first moved to the country, was almost flattened.

“Last night when I got in touch with some friends who told me what is happening in Union… I was in tears last night when I saw what Union Island is today.

“There is no airport, nothing. It is completely demolished,” Ghir told the News Room.

This island is just about three miles long and is best known for its seafood, like the iconic conch.

According to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, about 90% of the houses on Union Island have been severely damaged or destroyed. During a press briefing on Tuesday, he confirmed that the airport has indeed been badly affected and unusable.

“Union Island has been devastated,” Gonsalves said.

Grenada was another Caribbean island particularly hard-hit by the hurricane on Monday.

SUPPORT FOR AFFECTED COUNTRIES

In a statement, Guyana’s President and the current Chairman of the Caribbean Community, Dr. Irfaan Ali said support for Grenada would be prioritised even as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) was working on a wider response plan for the Windward Islands.

Guyana’s first shipment of relief aid to Grenada in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Beryl was handed over to Kerryne James, the Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment, and Renewable Energy, at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (Photo: President Irfaan Ali/ Facebook/ July 02, 2024)

For its part, Guyana has already sprung into action- sending relief items to Grenada and other countries affected.

On Tuesday, via a Facebook update, President Ali highlighted that aid arrived in Grenada.

“Our first shipment of relief aid to Grenada in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Beryl was handed over to Kerryne James, the Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment, and Renewable Energy, at the Maurice Bishop International Airport,” the post on the President’s official Facebook page noted.

Tobago, St. Lucia and Barbados were other islands affected.

A screenshot from a video showing the damage done on Union Island during the passage of Hurricane Beryl on Monday, July 1, 2024.

FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS

Beryl also grounded flights across the region.

Guyanese Rona Ramlall was one of the thousands of persons who travelled to Barbados to catch the final match of the T20 world cup- the showdown between India and South Africa. She has, however, been unable to return home.

“I’m crossing my fingers that the winds they predict for tomorrow (Wednesday) doesn’t affect my travel plans for Thursday,” she told the News Room on Tuesday.

Caribbean Airlines, for example, notified flyers that its flights were grounded but issued a schedule for relief flights, barring any further disruptions.

 

In a statement, the airlines said it would “operate relief flights for ticketed and confirmed passengers who were displaced due to regional flight cancellations during the period June 30 to July 2.”

Similar actions are being taken by other airlines.

As stakeholders try to cope with the situation, the hurricane continued to move across the region on Tuesday, forcing Jamaica to brace for some impact.

Already, the hurricane has killed at least six people after making its landfall in the southeast Caribbean.The hurricane has since been downgraded to a Category 4, and is expected to hit Jamaica and the Cayman Islands on Wednesday.

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2 Comments
  1. habeeb says

    Anyone living in “hurricane zones” shouldn’t be too surprised by Hurricanes.
    It must be the weather patterns and god’s work.
    Be safe everyone.
    I am waiting my turn.

  2. Doodmattie Khan says

    Praying for safety for all.God is able. Just praise and trust Him in everything.

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