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Aerial view of the damage caused by Hurricane Beryl in Grenada. (Grenada's Government Information Service Photo via CMC)

Hurricane Beryl kills three in Grenada

July 2, 2024

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell Tuesday said at least three people were killed and “possibly more,” after Hurricane Beryl battered Grenada and its sister islands on Monday with winds in excess of 140 miles per hour (mph)

Speaking at a news conference here, Mitchell, said that two of the deaths occurred on the sister isle of Carriacou while the other was on the mainland in Grenada.

He said efforts are being made to secure a helicopter to visit Carriacou given that seas between the islands are still very rough and the Coast Guard vessels would most likely be unable to cope with the situation.

“It is reported that at least two fatalities, there is widespread destruction, possibility of more fatalities is a reality and internal movement between Carriacou and Petite Martinique is still very much restricted …”

He said the restriction is as a result of being unable to clear the roadway because of a lack of fuel for the machines, the down utility lines and there is also the possibility that even if the airport is opened, it would be a challenge to leave the area.

“We have requested assistance for a helicopter from our brothers and sisters in the region and as soon as we have that we will seek to give a further update to the people of Grenada, Petite Martinique and Carriacou. Watch video

“But in the meantime we are going to rely on a larger craft to take the Commissioner of Police, security officers and some technical people to Carriacou and once they get there we will have a further update,” Mitchell said.

He said the cabinet will meet in emergency session this afternoon, following the meeting of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders this morning at 10.00 am (local time)  “where we will begin to plan to the devastation brought by Hurricane Beryl”.

Mitchell, who has said he still wants to visit Carriacou on Tuesday, said that the north of  Grenada has suffered severe destruction as well.

He told reporters that the response from the region as well as from Grenadians in the diaspora has been overwhelming.

“Clearly this is a traumatic event  in our history coming on the 50th anniversary of independence and we have no choice but to rise from the ashes and to remain united and to build.

“We should never waste a crisis and I think this is an opportunity again for us to strengthen our preparational response to natural disasters which clearly will continue happening. This is overwhelming proof of the dramatic changes, like climatic conditions and its impact on us as small islands developing states.

“I don’t think we need to prove our losses here and so when we speak to those nations that are creating this climate crisis based on the burning of fossil fuels we have yet another clear and overwhelming evidence of the fact that we are constantly facing an existential threat to our way of life brought about by climate change”.

Mitchell said that it is time for the developed countries to “move past the talking  and be able to realise that resources are in fact needed to build our resilience and to build our sustainability against this ever present threat that they have created”.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Beryl is expected to bring life threatening winds and storm surge to Jamaica on Wednesday as it moves across the Caribbean sea.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the storm is 625 miles east south east of Kingston and a hurricane warning is in effect for the country, while a hurricane watch remains in effect for .Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac

A tropical storm warning is in effect for. The south coast of Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque westward to the border with Haiti and the south coast of Haiti from the border with the Dominican Republic to Anse d’Hainault.

The NHC said that the eye of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 15.0 North, longitude 67.9 West and it is moving towards the west-northwest near 22 mph.

It is forecast to continue moving rapidly west-northwestward during the next couple of days and turn westward by Thursday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will move quickly across the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea today and is forecast to pass near Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday.

Beryl has maximum sustained winds remain near 165 mph with higher gusts.  It is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

“Weakening should begin later today, but Beryl is still expected to be near major hurricane intensity as it moves into the central Caribbean and passes near Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday.

“Additional weakening is expected thereafter, though Beryl is forecast to remain a hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean,” the NHC added.

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