Hurricane Beryl is a Dangerous Storm Moving Through the Caribbean. Supporting the Islands During a Hurricane: A Guide for the Caribbean American Community in New York City

Hurricane Beryl is a Dangerous Storm Moving Through the Caribbean. Supporting the Islands During a Hurricane: A Guide for the Caribbean American Community in New York City

Editorial credit: Jeiner Huete_P /

Hurricane Beryl is currently tracking westward across the Caribbean and is projected to reach southern Jamaica by Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm has reached a dangerous Category 5 status, marking the earliest occurrence of this category in Atlantic records. After devastating the Windward Islands, where it claimed at least three lives, Beryl made landfall on Monday as a Category 4 on Carriacou Island in Grenada. Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell described Carriacou as “flattened” within half an hour. Additional damage has been noted on Petite Martinique and in Barbados.

Beryl rapidly intensified, becoming the earliest recorded Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. This phenomenon underscores the abnormal warmth of ocean waters, indicative of a hurricane season that reflects the broader impacts of fossil fuel pollution on our warming planet.

When a hurricane approaches, it poses a significant threat to lives, Infrastructure, and the overall well-being of the island nations. The Caribbean American community in New York City, particularly those with ties to the islands, can play a crucial role in providing support and aid. 

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This analysis outlines practical ways the Caribbean Diaspora can mobilize resources, offer support, and assist the Caribbean islands in preparing for, enduring, and recovering from a hurricane.

Also Read: Jamaica PM Declares Jamaica a Disaster Area as Beryl Approaches

Understanding the Impact of Hurricanes

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Immediate Threats:

  • Loss of Life: Hurricanes can result in fatalities due to high winds, flooding, and flying debris.
  • Injury: Physical injuries from collapsing structures, broken glass, and other hazards are common.
  • Property Damage: Homes, businesses, and Infrastructure can be severely damaged or destroyed.
  • Displacement: Many people may be forced to evacuate their homes and seek temporary shelter.

Long-Term Consequences:

  • Economic Impact: Destruction of businesses and Infrastructure can lead to long-term economic challenges.
  • Health Concerns: There can be ongoing health issues due to waterborne diseases, lack of clean water, and inadequate medical care.
  • Psychological Effects: The trauma of experiencing a hurricane can lead to long-term mental health issues.

Mobilizing Resources – Fundraising and Financial Support

Organizing Fundraising Events:

  • Community Events: Host fundraising events such as charity dinners, cultural shows, and community fairs. These events can raise funds and foster community spirit.
  • Online Campaigns: Use crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and others to solicit donations from a wider audience. Social media can amplify these efforts.

Partnering with Organizations:

  • Nonprofits and NGOs: Collaborate with established nonprofits and NGOs specializing in disaster relief, such as the Red Cross, Food For The Poor, and local Jamaican charities.
  • Churches and Community Centers: Leverage the influence and reach of local churches and community centers to collect donations and organize support efforts.

Collecting and Sending Supplies – Essential Supplies:

  • Emergency Kits: Collect non-perishable food, bottled water, first aid supplies, and personal hygiene products.
  • Clothing and Bedding: Gather clothing, blankets, and bedding to help those who may be displaced.
  • Medical Supplies: Include over-the-counter medications, medical equipment, and sanitary supplies.

Organizing Collection Drives:

  • Drop-Off Locations: Establish designated drop-off points in churches, community centers, and local businesses.
  • Volunteer Teams: Form volunteer teams to efficiently sort, pack, and ship the collected supplies.

Providing Immediate Support – Emergency Communication and Information Dissemination

Spreading Awareness:

  • Information Networks: Use social media, community newsletters, and local radio stations to share information about the approaching hurricane and how to prepare.
  • Official Updates: Provide links to official sources for real-time updates, such as the Jamaican Meteorological Service and the National Hurricane Center.

Emergency Contacts:

  • Hotlines and Helplines: Establish emergency hotlines or contact points for people in Jamaica to seek help or information.
  • Family Coordination: Help Caribbean families in New York City connect with their relatives back home to check on their safety and coordinate support.

Shelter and Evacuation Assistance

  • Identifying Safe Locations:
  • Shelters and Safe Houses: Work with local authorities in Jamaica to identify and prepare safe shelters for those needing evacuation.
  • Evacuation Plans: Assist in disseminating evacuation plans and routes to ensure people know where to go and how to get there safely.

Transportation Support:

  • Transportation Arrangements: Provide financial or logistical support for transportation to safe areas or shelters, especially for those who cannot evacuate on their own.

Long-Term Recovery and Rebuilding – Rebuilding Infrastructure

  • Funded Projects:
  • Infrastructure Grants: Raise funds earmarked explicitly for rebuilding essential Infrastructure like roads, schools, and hospitals.
  • Construction Volunteers: Organize teams of volunteers, including skilled tradespeople, to travel to the islands and assist with rebuilding efforts.

Local Partnerships:

  • Government Collaboration: Work with Jamaican government agencies to ensure efforts are aligned with national recovery plans.
  • Community Engagement: Engage local communities in Jamaica to identify their needs and priorities in the rebuilding process.

Economic Support and Job Creation

Small Business Aid:

  • Microloans and Grants: Provide microloans and grants to help small businesses recover and rebuild.
  • Business Mentorship: Offer mentorship and support programs for entrepreneurs to help them navigate the post-disaster economic landscape.

Employment Programs:

  • Job Creation Initiatives: Develop programs focusing on rebuilding efforts, such as construction projects and infrastructure repair.
  • Skills Training: Provide training programs to help residents acquire the skills needed for reconstruction and other critical sectors.

Mental Health and Community Support

Counseling and Support Services

Mental Health Programs:

  • Trauma Counseling: Offer trauma counseling services for those affected by the hurricane, either in-person or via telehealth.
  • Support Groups: Establish support groups for community members to share their experiences and provide mutual support.

Educational Workshops:

  • Stress Management: Conduct workshops on stress management, coping strategies, and resilience building.
  • Community Outreach: Engage community leaders and health professionals to provide continuous mental health support.

Cultural and Social Activities – Community Events:

  • Cultural Celebrations: Host cultural events celebrating Caribbean heritage, fostering community spirit and solidarity.
  • Recreational Activities: Organize recreational activities and sports events to provide children and families a sense of normalcy and joy.

Connecting Diaspora and Homeland:

  • Exchange Programs: Develop exchange programs that allow the Caribbean Diaspora to visit the islands and contribute to rebuilding efforts.
  • Virtual Connections: Use technology to create virtual connections between the Caribbean Diaspora in New York City and those in the Caribbean, facilitating ongoing support and communication.


The Caribbean Diaspora in New York City can play a pivotal role in helping the Caribbean islands prepare for, endure, and recover from a hurricane. The community can make a significant impact by mobilizing resources, providing immediate support, aiding in long-term recovery, and addressing mental health needs. By leveraging existing networks, forming new partnerships, and maintaining a solid commitment to helping those in need, the Caribbean American community can ensure their efforts are effective and meaningful. Through these collective actions, the community can stand in solidarity with the Caribbean islands during times of crisis, fostering resilience and hope for the future.

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