UNDP Ready to Support Caribbean Recovery From Hurricane Beryl

KINGSTON – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says it’s ready to support the Caribbean in recovery efforts following the onslaught of Hurricane Beryl. 

beryyltThe UNDP Multi-Country Office (MCO) in Jamaica on Friday said that entire communities in Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean have been flooded, houses destroyed, livelihoods wiped out, and that “the full scale of this event is not yet known” from last week’s passage of Hurricane Beryl that made landfall in the Caribbean region, bringing winds of 140 to 160 mph, and becoming the first hurricane on record to reach category 5 so early in the Atlantic. 

“We are deeply saddened by the devastating loss of life, the impact on livelihoods and infrastructures, as well as the suffering caused to communities by this hurricane,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Michelle Muschett. 

“UNDP remains in solidarity with the Caribbean people, and we stand ready to support the governments and communities with immediate critical needs as they begin to recover from this event”, she added, disclosing that the UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica “remains in touch with national authorities to ascertain immediate needs and to deploy technical, financial and in-kind resources for disaster response and recovery in cooperation with our sister UN agencies and other regional and international partners.”

Beyond immediate needs, “UNDP remains available to help advance climate adaptation programming and disaster risk and resilience interventions in an era of increasingly frequent and intense storm systems,” said Kishan Khoday, UNDP Resident Representative for Jamaica, Bermuda, Belize, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. 

UNDP also said it “stands ready to deploy personnel to support national and regional emergency management authorities in launching relief and recovery efforts.”

It said Beryl is the second named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season – which was forecast to be a very active one. 

UNDP noted that, this season, 20-25 storms are forecasted, of which 8-12 could become hurricanes. 

“As this unprecedented hurricane season is getting started, UNDP will continue supporting the region in prevention, preparedness and recovery,” it said. 

On Thursday, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his solidarity with Caribbean countries affected by Hurricane Beryl, releasing US$4 million from the organization’s emergency response fund to kickstart relief efforts.

The UN noted that Hurricane Beryl wreaked havoc as it swept through Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica.

Guterres expressed his “deep dismay” at the destruction caused by the hurricane, reiterating his solidarity with affected nations.

“The Secretary-General, in coordination with the affected nations, is considering launching an appeal to address humanitarian needs arising from the impact of Hurricane Beryl,” said his Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

He said US$4 million will be made available from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dujarric said UN humanitarian officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in Grenada are working with local officials, assisting damage assessment and response.

He said teams from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are also in Barbados, supporting efforts in the country and the eastern Caribbean. 

On Wednesday, the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Roger Nyhus announced immediate US humanitarian support for the communities impacted by Hurricane Beryl in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Nyhus said this came in response to “a direct request for assistance from their governments.”

The US Embassy in Barbados said Nyhus released a “declaration of humanitarian need within hours of Hurricane Beryl’s pass through the Eastern Caribbean, triggering the release of funding, administered by the Red Cross, to support those affected by the disaster in the two countries.” 

The Embassy said the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) has disaster experts on the ground, supporting damage assessments.  

“In anticipation of the hurricane’s landfall, the United States pre-positioned supplies in the region to ensure a swift response,” it said. “These proactive measures have allowed for an expedited delivery of aid and support to those in need.”

Nyhus said the United States and Embassy Bridgetown “stand in solidarity with the people of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines during this challenging time.

“The United States is committed to providing the necessary support to help these communities recover and rebuild,” he added. “These are our friends, neighbors and partners.”

Meantime, the United Kingdom Government said on Friday that it was increasing support up to £500,000 (1 GBP = 1.2809 USD) for Caribbean countries most affected by the destruction of Hurricane Beryl.

 Foreign Secretary David Lammy said the financial support is providing immediate relief to meet the needs of those whose homes and livelihoods have been impacted. 

He said it includes 800 emergency shelter kits – capable of supporting up to 4,000 people. 

Lammy said these have already been dispatched to Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines after their islands suffered devastating damage earlier last week. 

He said the emergency shelters, along with 1,620 buckets for households to collect and store water, have been sent from supplies pre-positioned in the region as part of the UK’s preparedness plans.  

“Our thoughts remain with those who have lost loved ones, their homes or have been left without power,” Lammy said. “This funding will help support disaster recovery efforts, as part of a swift and coordinated response in the region. 

“That such a storm has developed so early in the season shows that we are facing a climate emergency and must act now,” he urged.

Following a request from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Lammy said the UK has also provided support for deployment of regional teams to assist the national disaster offices with emergency operations, relief and logistics management, telecommunication, security issues and sectoral assessments. 

“The UK is committed to working with Caribbean countries to build their resilience to climate change and natural disasters,” he said, disclosing that the UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund has invested £350 million in climate-resilient projects across the region, including ports, roads and water systems.  

The Foreign Secretary said the UK has already invested in building preparedness and resilience of the region, stating that this includes supporting the development of Disaster Risk Finance strategies and investing in insurance initiatives in the Caribbean “to enable communities to recover more quickly.”