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Direct Relief Responds as Hurricane Beryl Impacts the Caribbean. The Region, Watchful and Ready, Will Weather the Storm Today.


Hurricane Beryl

A visualization of Hurricane Beryl from Sunday, June 30. (Photo courtesy of the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center)

An unusually violent and early hurricane made its first landfall Monday morning on Carriacou Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, following a weekend of intense preparation and anxiety in the Caribbean.

Hurricane Beryl, notable for being the strongest tropical storm ever to pass through the region so early in the Atlantic season, lashed the Windward Islands in the southeast Caribbean with winds up to 150 miles an hour.

Concern about Beryl began several days ago as the storm began to gather strength over the Atlantic Ocean. Although it briefly weakened Monday morning to Category 3, the storm is now considered a highly dangerous Category 4 hurricane. Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Tobago were under hurricane warnings, and Martinique, St. Lucia, and Trinidad were each issued a tropical storm warning.

Beryl is expected to produce forceful winds lasting throughout Monday, and heavy rainfall and storm surge — often even more dangerous than hurricane winds — will also cause significant impacts in the region.

Direct Relief Responds

In anticipation of meeting medical and health needs on the ground, Direct Relief has already reached out to partners across the region, including the Barbados Ministry of Health, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Food Programme, and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, along with a number of local partners.

The organization has active Memorandums of Understanding in place with OECS and PAHO, so that support can be provided quickly and efficiently in response to a disaster. In addition, an emergency shipment for St. Vincent is packed and staff are preparing it for dispatch.

A Direct Relief-funded team of emergency responders with close local ties, the Caribbean Rapid Response Team, is preparing for deployment.

And, in preparation for events like Hurricane Beryl, Direct Relief has already staged caches of commonly needed medications and supplies — called Hurricane Preparedness Packs — throughout this area of the Caribbean as well as the larger region. Regional stockpiles are ready in St. Lucia, Barbados, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

But Luis David Rodriguez, a Direct Relief program manager specializing in the Caribbean and emergency response, said these preparations are only the beginning.

“It’s still too early to know, since Hurricane Beryl is just making landfall in parts of the Windward Islands,” he said. “We will have a better understanding of the impact and needs later in the day as the storm passes through.”

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