Antigua and Barbuda mobilises aid in wake of Hurricane Beryl

Simone Francis gathers items from her home that were blown away by Hurricane Beryl in Old Harbour, Jamaica, on Thursday (Photo courtesy Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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By Samantha Simon
[email protected]

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has launched a comprehensive response to assist Caribbean neighbours affected by Hurricane Beryl, while also preparing for potential impacts on its citizens abroad.

The category four hurricane has caused significant damage to several islands in the southern Caribbean, prompting swift action from the local authorities.

In a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst outlined the country’s response to the storm’s impact on Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and other nearby nations.

“We have utilised the Barbadian vessel that was seeking shelter in Antigua’s waters during the recent hurricane,” Hurst explained.

“We have filled it with water and other supplies from the NODS (National Office of Disaster Services) and have dispatched it with policemen and soldiers aboard in order for them to provide additional security to the people of the Grenadines.”

The aid mission targets Grenada’s islands of Petite Martinique and Carriacou, and St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Bequia and Union Island.

Hurst emphasised the country’s commitment to regional solidarity, stating, “We are our brothers’ keepers.”

In addition to the naval deployment, the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force aircraft will also be deployed to transport personnel and supplies to the affected countries.

Regarding Antiguan students in Jamaica, which was also hit by Hurricane Beryl, Hurst assured, “The government of Antigua and Barbuda stands ready to do what it must in order to ensure their safety and security.”

He mentioned the possibility of flying students back to Antigua if conditions in Jamaica became life-threatening following the hurricane.

Hurst reflected on the lessons learned from this experience, saying, “When we are a safe harbour, you can send your vessels to Antigua and Barbuda to ride out the storm. And when those storms have done their damage, we pack those vessels with fresh water, bottled water, with food and other kinds of emergency supplies.”

The government’s response is said to demonstrate Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to regional cooperation and disaster preparedness in the face of increasingly severe Caribbean hurricanes.

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