King Charles III has paid tribute to the Caribbean islands facing Hurricane Beryl destruction (2024)

In short:

At least 10 people have died in the Caribbean after Hurricane Beryl roared through Venezuela, Grenada and Jamaica.

King Charles III offered "heartfelt condolences" to those facing the "dreadful destruction" in a statement.

What's next?

Beryl is headed for the Cayman Islands and Mexico as a still destructive category three hurricane.

The death toll from the powerful category four Hurricane Beryl has climbed to at least 10 across the Caribbean region.

Beryl's eyewall skirted Jamaica's southern coast late Wednesday and early Thursday, pummelling communities as emergency groups evacuated people from flood-prone areas.

A woman died in Jamaica's Hanover parish after a tree fell on her home, according to Jamaica's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) acting director General Richard Thompson.

Nine other fatalities have been reported on the islands Beryl hit before roaring towards Jamaica — Venezuela, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

King Charles III has paid tribute to the Caribbean islands facing Hurricane Beryl destruction (1)

At least three people have been reported dead in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a senior official told Reuters.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro told state television three people had died and four were missing in the country after the hurricane passed over.

Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell described "Armageddon-like" conditions with no power and widespread destruction, while also confirming three deaths.

The official death toll is widely expected to rise further as communications return on islands damaged by flooding and severe winds.

"My family and I have been profoundly saddened to learn of the dreadful destruction caused by Hurricane Beryl across the Caribbean," King Charles III said in an official statement.

"Above all, we send our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who have so cruelly lost their lives."

The King thanked emergency services and volunteers across the Caribbean, and praised residents for their "extraordinary spirit of resilience and solidarity" in the face of the storm.

Beryl makes landfall in Jamaica, headed for Cayman Islands and Mexico

The tropical storm's eye descended about 161km west of Kingston, Jamaica by late Wednesday local time according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Nearly 1,000 Jamaicans were in shelters by Wednesday evening, the ODPEM official said.

"It's terrible. Everything's gone. I'm in my house and scared," said Amoy Wellington, a 51-year-old cashier who lives in a rural farming community in the southern St. Elizabeth parish.

"It's a disaster."

The island's main airports were closed and streets empty after Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness issued a curfew for Wednesday, which was extended to Thursday as storm conditions continued.

Mr Holness insisted the country had not seen the "worst of what could possibly happen".

"We can do as much as we can do, as humanly possible, and we leave the rest in the hands of God."

The government's Information Service said power outages spread across Jamaica's north, while some roads near the coast were washed out or blocked off by fallen trees and utility poles.

Beryl moved on from Jamaica early on Thursday.

The island discontinued its hurricane warning but kept a flash flood watch, the Meteorological Service of Jamaica said on X.

King Charles III has paid tribute to the Caribbean islands facing Hurricane Beryl destruction (2)

Beryl weakened slightly to a category three hurricane after descending on Jamaica, but remains a threat as it bears down on the Cayman Islands and Mexico.

At around 4am local time, the tropical storm was just 88 kilometres from Grand Cayman and about 708 kilometres off Tulum Mexico, the NHC said.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 209 kilometres per hour, Beryl is expected to dump 10-15 centimetres of rain on the Cayman Islands into Thursday.

A hurricane warning is in effect and life-threatening surf and rip currents are possible, the NHC add.

A hurricane warning is also in force for the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

Beryl is expected to make landfall in a sparsely populated area of lagoons and mangroves south of Tulum in the early hours of Friday, local time.

It is expected to weaken further to a category two storm by then, but re-strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico to make a second strike on the country's north-east coast.

National coordinator of Civil Protection Laura Velazquez encouraged tourists in Cancun and nearby Tulum to hunker down in hotel basem*nts as the storm approached, in comments to local broadcaster Milenio.

'Extraordinary' hurricane season predicted

Beryl is the 2024 Atlantic season's first hurricane, and marked the earliest-developing category five hurricane on record when it was categorised on Monday.

The World Meteorological Organization says Beryl sets a precedent for a "very dangerous hurricane season", while scientists cite the destruction as a sign of human-caused ocean warming in the Atlantic causing extreme weather.

King Charles III has paid tribute to the Caribbean islands facing Hurricane Beryl destruction (3)

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecast a large number of major hurricanes in an "extraordinary" season this year.

But residents of the Caribbean are facing more immediate consequences.

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Nerissa Gittens-McMillan, permanent secretary at St. Vincent and the Grenadines' agriculture ministry, warns of possible food shortages after half the country's plantain and banana crops were lost.

Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said in a radio interview the country's Union Island was "flattened" by Beryl and it would "be a Herculean effort to rebuild".

Mayreau and Union Island suffered destruction of more than 95 per cent of their homes, Director of the National Emergency Management Organization Michelle Forbes said.

Over 8,000 homes were also damaged in Venezuela.

Reuters/ABC

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King Charles III has paid tribute to the Caribbean islands facing Hurricane Beryl destruction (2024)
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