Some Caribbean islands see almost 'total destruction' after Hurricane Beryl (2024)

A more complete picture emerged Wednesday of the extensive damage wrought by Hurricane Beryl's trek across the Windward Islands, revealing destruction and at least seven deaths.

At least three islands report more than 90% of the homes and buildings either destroyed or severely damaged, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported Wednesday. All three are within the chain of Grenadine Islands, where Beryl roared into the Caribbean on the southern end of the Windwards, between St. Vincent and Grenada.

With 19 participating states across the Caribbean, the agency was helping coordinate disaster response on Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines even as it continued to track Beryl’s movements across Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Belize.The eye of Beryl, still a Category 4 storm, raked Jamaica's coast Wednesday afternoon and was expected to pass near the Cayman Islands Thursday morning, before making landfall in the Yucatan on Friday morning.

The damage estimates for the Windwards – where Beryl made landfall over Carriacou – are only "a very preliminary look," said Elizabeth Riley, the disaster management agency's executive director. Beryl struck the islands with sustained winds of 150 mph and higher gusts on Monday, and the National Hurricane Center had warned that winds could be up to 30% higher on the tops of hills and mountains.

The impacts to the Grenadine Islands are "quite significant," Riley said, leaving residents exposed and vulnerable. Even as recovery efforts began, a tropical wave brought rain and gusty winds Wednesday to the suffering residents.

Some Caribbean islands see almost 'total destruction' after Hurricane Beryl (1)

Grenada prime minister discusses damage on Carriacou

In a briefing late Tuesday after spending more than two hours in a helicopter provided by the government of St. Lucia, Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell described "total destruction" on the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

"There's really nothing that can prepare you to see this level of destruction," Mitchell said. "It is almost Armageddon-like, almost total damage and destruction of all buildings. Complete devastation and destruction of agriculture. Complete and total destruction of the natural environment."

Some Caribbean islands see almost 'total destruction' after Hurricane Beryl (2)

"There is literally no vegetation left anywhere on the island of Carriacou; the mangroves are totally destroyed, the boats and the marinas significantly damaged," he said. "There is almost complete destruction of the electrical grid system in Carriacou. The entire communication system is completely destroyed."

However, Mitchell added, he'd been heartened by the volunteers "showing true Grenadian spirit" by arriving from other less damaged areas in boats and fishing vessels to begin delivering relief supplies to those affected.

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Beryl damage updates

The following are the preliminary assessments Riley listed:

Carriacou, Grenada

  • The total population of 6,081 has been affected, so shelter is "a significant consideration."
  • Majority of homes and buildings have been extensively damaged
  • Communications have been significantly compromised

Petite Martinique, Grenada

  • Estimated 80% of the houses and buildings extensively damaged or destroyed
  • 900 people affected
  • Majority of the island is sheltering in place

Canouan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • 100% of the island's population (12,600) has been affected
  • An estimated 90% of the houses were damaged, either extensively or destroyed
  • Police station in Charlestown lost its roof

Union Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Full population of 3,000 was affected by extensive damage
  • Estimated 98% of buildings, including houses badly damaged or destroyed
  • Airport control tower destroyed, hospital roof destroyed
  • Power plant received significant damage
  • Government assisting people who wish to evacuate

Mayreau, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Total population of 300 people affected
  • 90% of the housing stock and buildings have been damaged or destroyed

Palm Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Resort and desalination plant significantly damaged

Barbados

  • More than 40 homes with damage, a number expected to rise
  • Confirmed significant damage to the fishing sector
  • More than 200 boats damaged
  • Significant damage to the coastal infrastructure, particularly along the south coast
  • Partial road obstruction

St. Lucia

  • Significant damage on southern end

Trinidad and Tobago

  • Power outages
  • Water disruption on Tobago
  • Roadway blockages on both islands

Bequia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • An estimated 10% of the homes and buildings suffered roof damage
  • Airport and runway are usable

Dominica

  • Minimal damages reported

Grenada

Mitchell, Grenada's prime minister, said the island's northernmost parish, Saint Patrick suffered significant damage. The parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint Mark and Saint John also suffered much more damage than the parishes of Saint George and Saint David.

"It is clear that agriculture has taken quitea battering. It is clear that many persons have lost their roofs," Mitchell said. "It is clear, in some instances, many people have lost their entire homes."

Dinah Voyles Pulver covers climate and the environment for USA TODAY. Reach her at dpulver@gannett.com or @dinahvp.

Some Caribbean islands see almost 'total destruction' after Hurricane Beryl (2024)
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