UK Government announces Hurricane Beryl support package for Caribbean

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The United Kingdom Government has indicated that it will be increasing support up to £500,000 for Caribbean countries most affected by the destruction of Hurricane Beryl.

The announcement was made on Friday by the newly-appointed Foreign Secretary, David Lammy.

Specifically, 800 emergency shelter kits have been sent to Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines while two FCDO Rapid Deployment Teams have travelled to Jamaica and the Grenadine Island of Carriacou.

This was revealed by the Public Affairs Office of the British High Commission in Kingston.

“The financial support is providing immediate relief to meet the needs of those whose homes and livelihoods have been impacted,” the High Commission said.

It noted that the 800 emergency shelter kits are capable of supporting up to 4,000 people. These have already been dispatched to Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines after the two islands suffered devastating damage from Beryl on Monday, before impacting Jamaica on Wednesday.  

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.  

The Foreign Secretary said: “Our thoughts remain with those who have lost loved ones, their homes or have been left without power.  

“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.” 

The High Commission shared that following a request from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), 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. 

Meanwhile, Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Trent has arrived in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, to provide any assistance required to communities affected by Beryl.   

Two specialist FCDO Rapid Deployment Teams have also travelled to the region to provide consular assistance to any affected British nationals, along with a procurement and logistics specialist who will assist with the humanitarian effort.   

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

Meanwhile, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has committed $4 million to responding to humanitarian needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl. The UK is a longstanding partner to the CERF and is the largest overall donor to the fund since its inception in 2006, contributing more than $1.8 billion in total over the years. CERF is a humanitarian fund established by the United Nations General Assembly to enable timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters, armed conflict and complex emergencies through rapid, effective and efficient channelling of resources to humanitarian agencies.  

Hurricane Beryl was the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record to form in the Atlantic. It has left at least 12 people dead in its wake.