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Hurricane Beryl leaves "Armageddon-like" destruction in Grenada, "field of devastation" on Union Island, Caribbean leaders say
Posted by Temmy
Thu, July 04, 2024 4:08pm

Hurricane Beryl leaves Armageddon-like destruction in Grenada, field of devastation on Union Island, Caribbean leaders say

Caribbean leaders are taking to social media in the wake of Hurricane Beryl, sharing shocking images and video of widespread destruction.

Grenada's prime minister described sweeping destruction on the Caribbean nation's island of Carriacou as "almost Armageddon-like," while the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines called the damage to Union Island "a devastating spectacle."

The storm made landfall on the tiny island of Grenada on Monday as a Category 4, wiping out much of the island's electrical infrastructure, homes and agriculture.

"Almost total damage or destruction of all buildings, whether they be public buildings, homes or other private facilities," Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said on Tuesday. "Complete devastation and destruction of agriculture. Complete and total destruction of the natural environment. There is literally no vegetation left anywhere on the island of Carriacou."

Carriacou, which means "Isle of Reefs," is just 13 square miles, but it is the second-largest island within Grenada. Hurricane Beryl's size and strength completely overpowered the island, as well as its neighbor, St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Union Island, which saw 90% of its homes severely damaged or destroyed.

Mitchell said the island's mangroves, which are an essential part of maintaining coastal ecosystems and providing defense against storm surges, rising sea levels and erosion, were "totally destroyed." Boats and marinas also saw significant damage, he said.

"There is almost complete destruction of the electrical grid system in Carriacou. The entire communication system is completely destroyed," Mitchell said. "...Many people have lost their entire homes."

Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, shared a video on Instagram Wednesday of widespread destruction throughout the islands.

"Union is a field of devastation," Gonsalves said in the video that showed him surveying destroyed homes from a helicopter. "It's only the odd building that is not severely damaged or destroyed. The roofs of all these buildings are gone. The building of the terminal of the airport — that roof is gone."

At a news conference on Monday, the prime minister said that 90% of the houses on Union Island had been "severely damaged or destroyed." One person died on the island of Bequia, he confirmed.

The video showed Gonsalves also flying over the islands of Mayreau, Canouan and Palm Island, all of which appeared to have sustained significant infrastructural damage.

Noting the shock and trauma of the islands' residents, as well as the challenge of rebuilding, Gonsalves pledged to "turn this terrible setback into an advance."

Clare Nullis, a spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization, said earlier this week that "it only takes one landfalling hurricane to set back decades of development."

With this hurricane season expected to be worse than last year's —and with forecasters warning that Beryl may be setting a dangerous precedent for the remaining months— such damage at the beginning of summer could be disastrous for islands that could face multiple major storms.

And as oceans continue to warm —a major fuel for hurricanes— climate change could bring about even more major storms beyond this year, hampering recovery efforts.

"We fear what is happening with Hurricane Beryl, which has hit very, very, very small islands in the Caribbean, we fear that this is going to have a major knock on socioeconomic development," Nullis said.

At least two people were killed across Grenada from Hurricane Beryl, which broke numerous records as it rapidly formed into a major hurricane before slamming the Caribbean islands. Carriacou and the island of Petite-Martinique are under state of emergencies, according to the government's website.

Officials on the tiny island nation are holding onto hope they will be able to rebuild.

"Because we have life, we have hope," the office of Grenada's prime minister posted on Facebook on Wednesday. "We will rebuild stronger, together."

A satellite image shows destroyed buildings after Hurricane Beryl passed northeastern Carriacou, Grenada, July 2, 2024
A satellite image shows destroyed buildings after Hurricane Beryl passed northeastern Carriacou, Grenada, July 2, 2024. MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES


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