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Montreal’s Caribbean communities come together in solidarity and concern over Hurricane Beryl

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Montreal’s Caribbean communities come together in solidarity and concern over Hurricane Beryl
As Hurricane Beryl continues its march of destruction across the Caribbean, members of the dispora in Montreal are bracing themselves for the worst. With the storm pummeling Jamaica Tuesday evening, some in Montreal are starting to come to terms with the fact that such storms are expected to be more frequent. As Phil Carpenter reports, they're also starting to prepare to send help – Jul 3, 2024

As Hurricane Beryl’s deadly path of destruction continues its way across the Caribbean with the storm now pummeling Jamaica, members of the diaspora in Montreal are bracing themselves for the worst while preparing to send help.

Some, like Lloyd Shaw, are glued to the news from Jamaica for updates about the storm.

“All the stores have been closed since yesterday,” he told Global News. “The airport is closed, I think since 11 or midnight last night, and they’re getting rain since this morning which is supposed to continue overnight into tomorrow. So, it’s a long stretch.”

He said his family there is prepared but their main worry is the storm’s impact on their farms, explaining, “They just planted seedlings like tomatoes, peppers, and that’s their concern.”

The deadly category 4 storm, the biggest on record this early in the season in the region, is forecast to pass near or over Jamaica’s south coast Wednesday into Thursday, after it ripped through the eastern Caribbean earlier this week, devastating islands like Grenada and St. Vincent and The Grenadines. At least six people have been killed.

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By midday local time Wednesday people in Jamaica, particularly on the southeast coast, were already feeling the effects.

“There were high waves in Portland, and a little flooding in St. Andrew,” explained Paul Barton from a home he shares with partner Danielle and two young kids in Portmore near the capital, Kingston.

He said there was also some loss of power, mostly in the southeastern parishes, and during an interview with Global News, their power went out.

In Montreal Shaw, who grew up in rural Jamaica, also worries about residents in those areas.

“People and their animals, crops and all that. It’s their livelihood,” he pointed out. “So, when you have animals wiped out and crops wiped out, it’s hard to start all over again.”

The Barton family in Portmore is also anticipating a severe hit to the country’s infrastructure.

“Landslides on certain roads, downed power lines, trees impacting residential or commercial properties and lots of flooding in underserved areas,” explained Danielle, a quantity surveyor.

Given the expected challenges and the devastation Beryl has already caused, a coalition of Caribbean associations in Montreal is now mobilizing to help.

George Grant, Honorary Consul for Jamaica at Montreal is helping to organize it.

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“There’s a meeting tonight, I think, to coordinate the efforts so we don’t step on each other’s toes,” he explained, “and coordinate the collection of funds and goods that will be needed in the region.”

Grant said the aim is to make sure that all the affected islands — from Jamaica to Grenada — get the help they need.

 

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