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HomeWorld NewsHurricane Beryl: Relief efforts accelerate after cyclone devastates Caribbean islands

Hurricane Beryl: Relief efforts accelerate after cyclone devastates Caribbean islands

Speaking from Grenada, Simon Springett, UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean region, said that Cyclone Beryl struck the Cariacou Islands on 1 July, causing extensive damage.

“The entire island is affected…which is virtually 100 percent of the total population.”

For the first time in June, such a powerful cyclone has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, which very quickly turned into a Category 4 and then a Category 5 storm and brought with it gusts of wind at the speed of 240 kilometers per hour.

As a Category 4 cyclone, Beryl struck Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on July 1, and then struck Jamaica on July 3.

Beryl hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Friday evening and is expected to reach the southern Texas state of the USA on Monday morning.

UN Resident Coordinator Simon Springett said this is a very complex crisis and reaching the affected areas and organizing relief operations there is extremely challenging.

Four days after the cyclone struck, roads on the island remain impassable and communications were only restored on Thursday.

According to current estimates, 40 thousand people have been affected in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 1 lakh 10 thousand in Grenada and more than 9 lakh people in Jamaica.

International Support

Many countries have sent humanitarian aid to the cyclone-affected areas. A French ship has arrived in Cariacou and aid is also arriving from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago.

According to the Resident Coordinator, international assistance is being received on a large scale and the United Nations is proud to be a part of these efforts.

Simon Springett says that work is being done with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and the regional agency to carry out relief efforts in a coordinated manner. Detailed assessment of the damage caused by ‘Beryl’ is also underway in Jamaica and other island countries.

According to reports, communities from all backgrounds in Jamaica have suffered losses, especially in rural areas. The Jamaican government has implemented an effective plan supported by the UN and partner organizations and has arranged shelters for people who lost their homes in this disaster.

Besides this, clean drinking water, access to communication services, data and livelihood support are also being provided.

People are heading to shelters on Union Island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines following damage caused by Cyclone Beryl.

People are heading to shelters on Union Island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines following damage caused by Cyclone Beryl.

A large number of children are affected

United Nations Children’s Fund ,UNICEF) says the countries in the path of ‘Beryl’ include Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tobago, affecting 650,000 people, including 1.5 lakh children.

Many families have lost their homes and are forced to live in temporary camps. The United Nations had arranged for life-saving supplies before the cyclone struck and efforts are now being made to deliver them to those in need.

World Food Programme has also deployed its teams to the affected islands and is assisting local agencies to assess the situation and carry out initial relief efforts.

$4 million has been made available from the Central Emergency Response Fund to support humanitarian assistance operations in Grenada, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

David Dass
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