“We Are In Dire Need Of Help”: Hurricane Beryl Leaves Trail Of Devastation In The Caribbean – Essence

National Disaster Management Agency Grenada

Hurricane Beryl continued its destructive path westward after devastating the southeastern Caribbean after making landfall on Monday. Thus far, seven fatalities have resulted, and near-total destruction has been caused on several islands. As the earliest category five hurricane on record, the extent of the damage is becoming evident as local authorities begin to assess the impact on homes and infrastructure.

The unprecedented strength and timing of Hurricane Beryl have raised serious concerns about the potential severity of the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season. Some of the worst damage has occurred in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, two small islands a part of the tri-island state of Grenada. The island of Carriacou, struck by the eye of the storm, was left “flattened,” with more than 98 percent of the buildings, including the main health facility and airport, damaged, according to Grenada’s National Disaster Management Agency. Three storm-related fatalities have been confirmed there so far.

Article continues after video.

Initial Assessment of Carriacou Post Hurricane Beryl

We arrived earlier today in Carriacou to assess the damages and immediate needs of the people. Seeing the impact firsthand was heartbreaking. Homes and businesses have been severely damaged, and our brothers and sisters are facing significant challenges. But in every face, I saw resilience and strength. One gentleman even said, “We’re on the rise; things are going to get better,” and I want to echo those words.We will emerge from this stronger and more united than ever. The accompanying video shows just a glimpse of the destruction faced.#HurricaneBeryl #HurricaneRelief #UnitedWeStand #PetiteMartinique #Carriacou #Grenada #DisasterManagement #GrenadaStrong

Posted by Dickon Mitchell on Tuesday, July 2, 2024

“The situation is grim,” Grenada Prime Minister Hon. Dickon Mitchell said during a news conference on Tuesday. “There is no power, and there is almost complete destruction of homes and buildings on the island. The roads are not passable, and in many instances, they are cut off because of the large quantity of debris strewn all over the streets.” He added: “The possibility that there may be more fatalities remains a grim reality as movement is still highly restricted.” 

The prime minister was direct in his call out the root cause of such immense destruction and devastation: “This hurricane is a direct result of the climate crisis that Grenada, the Caribbean, and other small island developing states (SIDS) are on the frontline of. We demand, and we deserve climate justice,” said Mitchell during the briefing. 

“We are no longer prepared to accept that it is okay for us to constantly suffer significant, clearly demonstrated loss and damage arising from climatic events and be expected to rebuild, be expected to borrow to rebuild year after year, while countries that are responsible for creating the situation and exacerbating the situation sit idly by with platitudes and tokenism.”

Within a few hours of making landfall on Monday, Beryl jumped from a category 1 storm to a category 4 storm. Studies show hurricanes have been increasing in intensity and frequency in recent years. Despite contributing about 10 percent of the Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions,   the Caribbean and Latin America continue to suffer some of the worst effects of the accelerating climate crisis.

“This is not right, it is not fair, and it not just, and so we will create a task force to champion this issue, to find the appropriate partners to continue championing this issue with, both within Caricom, within the small island developing states and within the larger international community, including the UN,” said Mitchell. 

In St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves summed up the shock felt across the country, a multi-island nation comprising 32 islands and cays. “Hurricane Beryl—this dangerous and devastating hurricane—has come and gone, and it’s left in its wake immense destruction, pain, and suffering across our nation.”

“On one island in the Grenadines archipelago, Union Island, 90 percent of homes have been severely damaged or destroyed.” Gonsalves added that “similar levels of devastation” were expected on the islands of Myreau and Canouan but promised to react quickly and rebuild.

Among the evacuees, Sharon DeRoche told the Associated Press that Union Island is in a terrible state. She hid in her bathroom during the storm before she fled. “It was a hard four hours battling with six of us in that little area,” she said.

“We are in dire need of help,” Katrina Coy, director of the Union Island Environmental Alliance, said in an appeal to members of the  Caribbean diaspora per BBC News. “We need emergency kits, food, evacuation, all of that is needed in this moment.” Ms Coy has been working to ensure that Union Island’s water security, a vital resource for Caribbean small islands, is secure. Hurricane Beryl has devastated those efforts.

Several other Caribbean islands are under hurricane warnings, including Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. National Hurricane Center officials predicted Beryl would still be near major hurricane strength when it passes near or over Jamaica on Wednesday, the Cayman Islands on Thursday, and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Friday.

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