Hurricane Beryl Affecting The Caribbean and Beyond

Jul 8, 2024

Hurricane Beryl's impact on Jamaica and the wider Caribbean has been profound, reaching category five storm status late on Monday, July 1, and intensifying on Tuesday July 2, reaching winds of 165 mph (270kph). Leaving a trail of destruction in Grenada and St Vincent, the hurricane moved on to Jamaica, and the Yucatan Peninsula. Beryl caused widespread destruction, with roofs torn off buildings and floodwaters inundating streets. The storm's onslaught claimed the lives of at least seven people across the Caribbean, including fatalities in Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. In Jamaica alone, the hurricane’s intensity caused significant power outages, disrupting the normal functioning of essential services. The Salvation Army’s Great Bay and Mountainside Corps in Saint Elizabeth parish on the southern coast of Jamaica was significantly damaged by the Hurricane.

The preparation and response efforts were extensive, with warnings issued well in advance. Jamaican authorities urged residents to take precautions, emphasizing the potential for life-threatening storm surges up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) and rainfall exceeding 12 inches (30 centimeters), which posed risks of flooding and mudslides. The government activated over 900 shelters to accommodate those displaced by the storm, recognizing the urgent need for safe havens amidst the destruction.

As Beryl progressed westward, it made landfall in Mexico as a Category 2 storm, further impacting communities along its path with ongoing threats to coastal regions, prompting further preparations in Mexico and beyond. Hurricane Beryl's aftermath in Mexico left a trail of destruction, particularly in areas like the Yucatan Peninsula where it made landfall as a Category 2 storm. The storm caused significant damage to infrastructure, homes, and livelihoods, exacerbated by heavy rains, strong winds, and storm surges. In Cancún and surrounding areas, residents faced challenges such as power outages, disrupted transportation, and property damage.

The Salvation Army has deployed an EDS staff member to the State Operations Center in Austin, Texas to coordinate response efforts with partners on the State Feeding Task Force. “The Salvation Army’s immediate efforts after the storm made landfall in Texas were focused on feeding and emotional and spiritual care,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Texas. An Incident Management Team has been identified to run The Salvation Army response operations and will stage in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon. Once the storm makes landfall, trained staff, volunteers, and base camp equipment will be relocated to the impacted area. “We have already identified several strategic sites for potential operations in Harlingen, McAllen, Kingsville, Corpus Christi, Victoria, and Houston depending on the track of Beryl. Our final selected location will provide the best possible access to affected communities,” said Migues. “Mobile feeding units from San Antonio, New Braunfels, Victoria, Kerrville and Beeville have been activated, with a unit in Laredo remaining on standby.”

The aftermath of Hurricane Beryl poses significant challenges in recovery and reconstruction efforts, compounded by the scale of infrastructure damage and the displacement of residents. The international response, including humanitarian aid and support, aimed to mitigate the storm's humanitarian impact across affected regions. The Salvation Army response has been swift in aiding those affected by Hurricane Beryl in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Texas. Their efforts focused on delivering emergency relief, including food, water, shelter, and medical aid to impacted communities. Also offering emotional and spiritual care to support individuals and families coping with the trauma and loss caused by the storm.

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