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HomeNewsRegional NewsUN urges international solidarity as Hurricane Beryl devastates Caribbean islands

UN urges international solidarity as Hurricane Beryl devastates Caribbean islands

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UNITED NATIONS, CMC – The United Nations has called for international solidarity with Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and other Caribbean islands hit hard by Hurricane Beryl as it makes its way through the region this week.

The Category 4 storm, which is approaching Jamaica with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour (mph) on Wednesday, has claimed at least four lives as it barrels through the Caribbean Sea, causing severe damage to homes, infrastructure and power and communications.

UN spokesperson Stephané Dujarric told reporters that seven agencies based in Grenada and nine in St Vincent and the Grenadines “will be augmented by additional UN emergency teams in the coming days.

“Logistics are going to be a challenge, given the islands’ dispersal, damaged infrastructure and limited accessibility,” he said, adding that the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, is “very much appealing for strong international solidarity” with Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the other islands that have been hit by the hurricane.

Hurricane Beryl has become the first hurricane in history to be formed so early in the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane season that is forecast to be extremely intense, amid the worsening impacts of climate change.

The UN spokesperson also voiced concern for Haiti, which was already in a dire situation before the hurricane.

“The security situation is not making it any better. We are prepositioning, we are ready to help as soon as the storm hits and before,” he said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), aid agencies there are in close contact with Haitian authorities, who have amplified early warning messages.

“UN agencies, of course, stand ready to assist and have already taken anticipatory measures,” Dujarric said.

Meanwhile, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has raised alarm over the rate at which Hurricane Beryl intensified from a tropical depression to a Category 3 in 42 hours, and Category 4 in 48 hours.

“This is unprecedented for June but is in line with the recent trend towards very rapid intensification,” the agency said, recalling that such was the case with Hurricane Otis which grew to a Category 5 hurricane overnight and hit the Mexican resort of Acapulco last October.

At least 52 people were reported to have been killed by Hurricane Otis and a further 32 remain missing.

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