Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Hurricane Beryl spares Belize: government to assist affected Caribbean nations

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On Friday morning, July 5th, Hurricane Beryl landed as a Category 2 storm over the Mexican Caribbean coast, affecting coastal communities like Tulum and Playa del Carmen. The storm did not affect Belize, where a Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the northern portion of the country, including the Cayes. On Friday morning, the Government of Belize gave the all-clear, and discussions have started to see how they can help our counterparts in the Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, who were devastated by the weather system.

All Clear for Belize

The Honorable Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, said that Belize must try to assist the government anywhere it can. “There will be an announcement in terms of us making a contribution to a couple of the countries,” he said. “We must do that; we have no choice. I wish we could do a lot more because it is scary to read and see what these people are going through.” Hyde hopes this hurricane season will not be too violent.

Jamaica after Hurricane Beryl

On Friday, Prime Minister Honorable John Briceño participated in the 20th Special Emergency Meeting of CARICOM Heads to discuss Beryl’s impact on the region. Briceño reiterated Hyde’s commitment to financially contribute to St. Vincent, Grenadines, and Grenada to support their hurricane recovery efforts. The prime minister also offered to deploy linesmen to assist with the restoration of electricity in the affected areas.Belizeans in northern Belize and the Cayes (Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye) braced for the storm as heavy rainfall and tropical-storm-force winds were forecast. However, there were no impacts on these parts of the country. No rainfall or winds were reported in the Cayes. The government gave the all-clear on Friday morning as the hurricane passed over the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

Grenada after Hurricane Beryl

Earlier this week, on July 1st, Category 5 Hurricane Beryl barrelled through parts of Grenada, then to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Officials said that about 98% of the buildings on Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, Grenada, had been damaged or destroyed. In addition, crops were ravaged, and fallen trees with utility poles littered the streets. The same thing was experienced in St. Vincent at the Grenadines, where families were left homeless and in need of supplies, food and water.

Tulum after Hurricane Beryl

Beryl then stormed toward Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, which brought heavy rain and destructive winds, disrupting services such as electricity. Some places in Jamaica were still without power on Friday. By this time, at least nine people were killed by the storm. No significant damage or injuries were reported during the storm’s passage over the Cayman Islands as a Category 3 hurricane on Thursday; however, more assessments are needed.
On Friday, Beryl weakened to a tropical storm as it traveled across the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Beryl made landfall as a Category 2 storm, bringing destructive winds and storm surge to that part of Mexico. The dangerous storm is expected to emerge in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the day and strengthen again over the weekend.

In the meantime, Texas officials in the United States are already beginning to prepare for possible impacts from the storm in the coming days.
In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted up to 25 named storms and an “above-normal” hurricane season. Officials in Belize advised the public to remain vigilant and prepared as the hurricane season is just starting. The annual runs from June to the end of November; on average, the season produces 14 named storms.

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