Almost the entire island left homeless after Hurricane Beryl.


Union Island residents are grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, which ravaged their idyllic Caribbean home with devastating force. Katrina Coy, who witnessed the destruction firsthand, described the scene of almost total devastation, with nearly every building on the island either razed or severely damaged.

Union Island is in a terrible state after Beryl passed. Literally, almost the whole island is homeless, Ms. Coy conveyed in a heartfelt video message. She detailed the extensive damage: flattened houses, blocked roads, and downed electricity poles strewn across the streets.

Sebastien Sailly, a longtime fisherman and resident since 1985, echoed the sentiment of profound loss. Having endured Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Sailly emphasized that Hurricane Beryl surpassed any previous storm in intensity. “It’s like a tornado has passed through here. Ninety percent of the island – easily 90% – has been erased,” he lamented, his voice tinged with shock and fear.

Hurricane’s onslaught, Sailly sought shelter with his family, uncertain if they would survive the relentless winds and powerful gusts. His cousin, Alizee, shared a harrowing account from her hotel, where they barricaded doors and windows against the ferocious storm. “The pressure was so intense that you felt it in your ears,” she recounted, describing the terrifying sounds of roofs crashing and windows shattering amid flooding.

The impact of Hurricane Beryl extended beyond homes and businesses to the livelihoods of Union Island’s residents. Sebastien Sailly, who also farms organically and keeps bees, revealed that both his farms and beehives were completely destroyed. The immediate focus for the shattered community shifted to basic necessities: shelter, water, and food, as residents scrambled to makeshift accommodations using whatever materials they could gather.

Alizee Sailly emphasized the urgent need for essential supplies such as food, water, hygiene products, first-aid kits, and tents. With power and communication lines still down, she resorted to Elon Musk’s Starlink network to send messages for assistance.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines acknowledged the magnitude of the disaster caused by Hurricane Beryl. In a somber address, he described the hurricane as “dangerous and devastating,” pledging swift government response despite challenges in funding and resources.

Union Island, skepticism lingered about the government’s capacity to rebuild swiftly and effectively. Sebastien Sailly expressed doubts, calling for international assistance given the scale of destruction that would require billions of dollars and extensive manpower.

Katrina Coy, urging the Caribbean diaspora for support, highlighted the urgent need for emergency aid and evacuation assistance. She appealed for solidarity in the face of this unprecedented crisis, stressing the critical importance of water security, a cause she championed before losing her efforts to the hurricane’s wrath.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall as a Category 4 storm, unleashing sustained winds of 150mph (240km/h) and leaving thousands without power across St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and St Lucia. Despite the overwhelming devastation and displacement, Sebastien Sailly reflected on the resilience of the community, finding solace in the fact that lives were spared amidst the chaos.

The most important thing is that we are still alive, not the material losses,Sailly remarked, grateful to see his neighbors safe amid the aftermath of nature’s fury. As Union Island begins to rebuild and recover, the journey ahead remains daunting, requiring sustained international support and solidarity to restore normalcy to this shattered community.


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