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For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

Response Underway As Hurricane Beryl Cuts a Devastating Path Across Caribbean


Hurricane Beryl

Members of the Office of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) load Direct Relief Emergency Medical Backpacks and a Hurricane Preparedness Pack into a helicopter in St. Lucia, in preparation for transport to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (Photo courtesy of OECS)

Hurricane Beryl caused widespread destruction and power loss in parts of the Windward Islands on Monday, and the record-breaking storm has only increased in power since then. Currently a Category 5 hurricane — the earliest storm of its strength on record — Beryl is currently crashing through the Caribbean toward Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, threatening hurricane-force winds, high storm surge, and up to a foot of rainfall for Wednesday.
At least four people have died thus far, with many thousands more facing potentially deadly threats. The storm has leveled houses and buildings, downed power systems, and littered streets with felled trees and layers of debris. Information on impact and needs has been slow to emerge, due to the extensive devastation.
However, it is clear that the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique in Grenada, and Union Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, have experienced the worst of the damage. Dickon Mitchell, Grenada’s prime minister, has described the islands’ situation as “grim,” with power almost entirely cut off, untold numbers of houses destroyed, and unpassable roads.
Direct Relief had been in communication with Ministries of Health in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, as well as the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), to assess medical and emergency response needs, and to mobilize medications and supplies.
A Direct Relief Hurricane Preparedness Pack, already stationed in St. Lucia and filled with medications and supplies commonly requested after storms, will be transported by OECS to assist in Grenada. Direct Relief is preparing additional shipments to support the Ministry of Health of St. Vincent and the Grenadines this week.

(Photo courtesy of OECS)

For medical treatment purposes as well as temporary shelter, Direct Relief is working with St. Vincent’s Ministry of Health, OECS, and the National Emergency Management Organization to send a shipment of tents and cots currently stored at the NGO’s Puerto Rico warehouse. These will be sent to Carriacou and Union Island to support their emergency response work.
A rapid response team of medical professionals called Medical Professionals on a Mission (MPOM) is preparing to deploy to affected areas. MPOM, a Direct Relief partner, will receive 10 emergency medical backpacks to support their on-the-ground response. In addition, 30 emergency medical backpacks intended for OECS have already arrived at the port in St. Lucia.
Beryl is likely to be an active storm for several days. Although it may weaken somewhat, it is still predicted to hit Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula late Thursday or early Friday, potentially causing further impacts there. Mexico just experienced a short-lived event, Tropical Storm Chris, which made landfall on Sunday night.
Another tropical disturbance is currently forming in the Atlantic between the continent of Africa and the southeastern Caribbean. Although it is still considered unlikely that the disturbance will form a full-fledged tropical storm or depression, concern over the potential event has increased because it would follow Hurricane Beryl so closely.
Direct Relief maintains an active presence and close partnerships in the Caribbean. The organization has active Memorandums of Understanding with OECS and the Pan American Health Organization and works with a number of local governments and nonprofit groups to improve health and resilience throughout the region.

Working closely with regional partners, Direct Relief will continue to monitor and assess needs on the ground and is prepared to respond as more information emerges.

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