Nightmare hurricane Beryl causes pain in Eastern Caribbean

Hundreds of children and families homeless across St Vincent and the Grenadines, Carriacou, Petit Martinique and Grenada

Patrick Knight
Damaged infrastructure shows the aftermath of hurricane Beryl
Hon Ron Redhead/Facebook
03 July 2024

Kingstown, 2 June 2024.- Andrew DaSilva was looking forward to a few more fun-filled days at school before breaking for an exciting summer vacation.

That was Monday morning, but within mere hours his dreams of summer frolic turned to a nightmare as he watched his family’s home on the outskirts of Kingstown, St Vincent being ripped apart by a powerful Hurricane Beryl.

The first major system for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season tore the roof off his family’s house leaving them among hundreds rendered homeless in the hurricane’s wake. Official government estimates are that 90 per cent of homes in Union Island and Bequia, part of the group of islands making up St Vincent and the Grenadines, were damaged or destroyed.

A severely damaged house in Carriacou, Grenada
Hon Ron Redhead/Facebook
A severely damaged house in Carriacou, Grenada hours after the direct his from Hurricane Beryl.

While official estimates are still underway in neighbouring Grenada, Government there reported that Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the two other islands in the tri-island state, were devasted by the hurricane’s relentless 140 miles per hour winds.

In all over 650,000 people, including 150,000 children, in Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Tobago were in the storm’s path, but the other countries escaped with minimal structural damage.

A family stands in front of their house that sustained extensive damage after the hurricane
From right, Daniel, 9 with his two siblings and his mother (far left), Princess Gibson at their house outside the capital, Kingstown, which sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Beryl.

“It was horrible. I was scared. The roof came off and the rain was falling on my head.”

Andrew, 9, lived in the house with his mother Princess Gibson and siblings Joel and Ruth. The displaced family is now among over 1600 people in St Vincent and the Grenadines being housed in temporary government shelters.

Andrew’s mother said the family decided to ride out the storm at home and while the children were initially curious to experience a hurricane, that curiosity soon turned to concern as the winds picked up and the roof was lifted, exposing them to rain and the howling wind. “At first I was wondering if it was a dream when I saw the roof going as we didn’t expect this to happen, but we are thankful,” she added.

Just two years ago the St Vincent and the Grenadines population was impacted when the La Soufrière Volcano erupted blanketing most of the country with ash.

UNICEF is mobilizing supplies and resources and has pledged to support the affected countries to get back on their feet.

“UNICEF is deeply concerned at the plight of those affected by Hurricane Beryl, especially the most vulnerable, children and women. While we are still waiting initial assessments to come in, we know that children are commonly the most vulnerable in natural and man-made disasters.

“We pledge to be there for children of the affected countries,” said Pieter Bult, UNICEF Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area.


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