Hurricane Beryl Caused ‘Unimaginable’ Damage in Grenada, Leader Says


Mr. Mitchell said that many people on Grenada’s main island had lost their homes, but that the destruction was far worse on Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Officials were still trying to assess the extent of the damage on the two islands, particularly to the power grid and water supply.

Grenada, like other Caribbean nations, gets most of its drinking water from rainwater harvesting, involving drains on roofs that lead to storage vessels. Terrence Smith, the head of the country’s water agency, said the storm damage was not expected to immediately cause a life-threatening shortage on Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“We believe that is very unlikely,” Mr. Smith said on Tuesday. “If it is correct that most houses have lost their roofs, then they can’t harvest rainwater anymore. But many of these households have weeks of storage.”

Still, a recent dry spell has led many households on the islands to depend on desalination plants for water, and Mr. Smith said the plants on Carriacou and Petite Martinique were “probably negatively impacted by the hurricane.” That system had been under strain well before the hurricane arrived.

Beryl has set records as the first Category 4 hurricane, and then the first Category 5 storm, to form in the Atlantic Ocean so early in the season. A recent study found that with ocean temperatures rising, hurricanes in the Atlantic have become likelier to grow from a weak storm into a major one of Category 3 or higher within just 24 hours.

Mr. Mitchell called Beryl a direct result of global warming, saying that Grenada and countries like it were on the frontline of the climate crisis. “We are no longer prepared to accept that it’s OK for us to constantly suffer significant, clearly demonstrated loss and damage arising from climatic events and be expected to rebuild year after year while the countries that are responsible for creating this situation — and exacerbating this situation — sit idly by,” he said.

Jovan Johnston contributed reporting from Kingston, Jamaica, and Daphne Ewing-Chow from Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.



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