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  • Writer's pictureGigi

Weathering the Storm and Rebuilding Stronger

Updated: 6 days ago

St. Elizabeth, a parish close to my heart, recently faced the wrath of Hurricane Beryl, leaving significant damage in its wake. Known for its lush landscapes and agricultural richness, St. Elizabeth now stands as a testament to resilience and community spirit.

The Aftermath of Hurricane Beryl

Hurricane Beryl unleashed destructive winds and heavy rainfall, severely impacting Jamaica's south coast. St. Elizabeth, a crucial part of the island's agricultural backbone, suffered extensive damage. Over $6.4 million worth of crops and infrastructure were destroyed, creating a looming threat of food shortages across Jamaica. The storm ravaged vegetables, yams, cassava, breadfruit, ackee, mangoes, and bananas—staples that many rely on daily.

Agricultural Impact

Agriculture Minister Floyd Green highlighted the significant damage in St. Elizabeth. Farmers in greenhouses across St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, and Manchester have been hard-hit, with many small-scale poultry farmers losing their chicken houses. The damage is not just to crops but extends to the livestock and fishing sectors, amplifying the challenge of recovery.

Community Resilience

Despite the devastation, the spirit of resilience shines brightly in St. Elizabeth. Farmers are already planning their return to the fields, determined to rebuild and restore their livelihoods. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is committed to supporting these efforts, ensuring that the backbone of Jamaica’s food supply stands strong once more.

The Breadbasket Under Strain

Glendon Harris, former president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, warned of the impending food shortages due to the severe impact on St. Elizabeth and Manchester. As St. Elizabeth is known as Jamaica's breadbasket, the damage here affects the entire island's food supply chain.

Relief Efforts

In response to the disaster, various organizations have mobilized to provide aid. The United Nations has sent teams to assist with access to clean water, shelter, food, and health services. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and Direct Relief have also established funds and provided emergency supplies to support affected communities.

Supporting the rebuilding of St. Elizabeth

  1. 100% of Streets of Jamiaca merch sales (poster, Teeshirts and hoodies) in Juli, August and September are going to Hurricane beryl relief in St. Elizabeth! You can check my products out here:

  2. 20% of Streets of Jamaica tours in Juli, August and September are going to Hurricane beryl relief. Book a tour here:

  3. Book in Advance: Many hotels in St. Elizabeth are offering special rates and promotions to encourage visitors. Booking your stay in advance not only helps the local economy but also shows your support for the community’s recovery efforts.

  4. GoFundMe Campaigns: Private collections and GoFundMe campaigns have been set up to aid recovery efforts. For instance, Jakes Hotel has established a relief fund for its neighbors in Treasure Beach. You can find and support these campaigns by visiting platforms like GoFundMe. My Friends: American Friends of Jamaica The BREDS Foundation Other: NBC Jamiaca Red Cross White Yardie event donation: White Yardie restore the Caribbean donation:

  5. Government Disaster Relief Fund: The Jamaican government has an official disaster relief fund to support affected communities. Donations can be made through the Official Government Disaster Relief Fund. Your contributions will directly assist in providing clean water, shelter, food, and health services to those in need.

A Glimmer of Hope

Amidst the devastation, there are rays of hope. Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth, though battered, reported no loss of life. Jakes Hotel, a beloved spot in Treasure Beach, has set up a relief fund to support neighbors and rebuild the community. The government continues to assess the damage and coordinate relief efforts to ensure a swift recovery.

Moving Forward

The path to recovery will be challenging, but the resilient spirit of St. Elizabeth's people will guide the way. This disaster has highlighted the strength of the community and the importance of solidarity in overcoming adversity.

St. Elizabeth, with its beautiful landscapes and warm, welcoming people, will rise again. The community's determination to rebuild and restore their home is a powerful reminder of the enduring spirit that defines Jamaica.

My Connection to St. Elizabeth

St. Elizabeth holds a special place in my heart, both the country part where my family in Pisgah is farming pineapples and up in Cockpit Country, Accompong where my Matroon friends live, and the charming area of Treasure Beach. This hidden gem on Jamaica’s south coast epitomizes the best of community tourism. Here, you’ll find a warm, welcoming atmosphere, where locals embrace visitors as family.

Treasure Beach offers a unique blend of natural beauty and authentic Jamaican culture. The sunsets are magical, and the beaches are serene, perfect for unwinding and enjoying the island’s slower pace of life. It’s a place where you can truly connect with the heart and soul of Jamaica.

I encourage you to visit St. Elizabeth and experience its beauty and resilience firsthand. Your support and presence will be vital to the community’s recovery and continued growth. By booking in advance, supporting GoFundMe campaigns, and contributing to the government disaster relief fund, you can make a significant impact in helping St. Elizabeth rebuild stronger than ever.

Together, we can help St. Elizabeth and all affected communities recover and thrive again.

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