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UN calls for international solidarity as Hurricane Beryl ravages Caribbean islands

Category 5 Hurricane Beryl has claimed at least six lives as it swept across the Caribbean Sea. Initial reports indicate severe damage to homes, infrastructure, power and communications.

UN spokesman Stephané Dujarric told journalists at a regular briefing in New York that seven agencies based in Grenada and nine agencies based in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines “will be reinforced with additional UN emergency teams in the coming days.”

Logistics will be a challenge, given the dispersion of the islands.damaged infrastructure and limited accessibility,” he said.

Unity is very important

Mr. Dujarric added that the Secretary-General “strongly desires international solidarity” with Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and other islands hit by the storm.

“Small island states, which the Secretary-General regularly visits, are once again suffering the brunt of natural disasters. And It is important that we see international solidarity,he added.

Hurricane Beryl is just the beginning of what is expected to be an extremely intense 2024 hurricane season, as the impacts of climate change become more severe.

Concern for Haiti

A UN spokesman also voiced concern about Haiti, which was already in dire straits before the storm.

The security situation doesn’t make it any better.. We are prepared, we are ready to help as soon as the storm hits and before,” he said.

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

“Of course, UN agencies are always ready to assist and have taken precautionary measures,” Mr. Dujarric said.

A house destroyed by a tornado that hit Bassin Bleu, northern Haiti.

© UNICEF/Maxime Le Lijour

A house destroyed by a tornado that hit Bassin Bleu, northern Haiti.

The ‘explosive’ rise

Also on Tuesday, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (World Meteorological Organization) has sounded the alarm about the speed at which Hurricane Beryl intensified from a tropical depression to a Category 3 within 42 hours and to a Category 4 within 48 hours.

“This is unprecedented for June but consistent with the recent trend of very rapid intensification,” the agency said, citing a similar case of Hurricane Otis, which strengthened into a Category 5 storm overnight and hit the Mexican resort of Acapulco last October.

At least 52 people have been reported dead from Hurricane Otis and 32 others remain missing.

The WMO recorded “record high” sea surface temperatures, warning that the period was setting up for an “exceptionally active and dangerous” hurricane season across the entire basin – the Atlantic, Caribbean and Central America.

Just one hurricane making landfall can set back years of socio-economic development.. For example, Hurricane Maria in 2017 caused Dominica to lose 800 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP),” said Ko Barrett, WMO Deputy Secretary-General.


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