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Locals with Jamaican ties connect with family as Hurricane Beryl hits

'We’re really not prepared for it,' says Lotaya Hunt as she hunkers down during storm
Posted at 6:58 PM, Jul 03, 2024

STUART, Fla. — As Hurricane Beryl bears down on Jamaica with wind speeds surpassing 150 mph, Jamaicans are preparing for impact.

Stuart business owner Jason Cushnie is Jamaican. He has family and friends who live on the island.

“I’m kind of worried about the people down there and a lot of people live in ramshackle housings," said Cushnie. "Some people have traditional brick and mortar houses but not a lot of people, especially in the area where our house is. So, we’re having all of our friends and helpers who help our property stay in our house in Drumilly.”

He’s been in contact with them everyday this week. Cushnie is most concerned about his grandmother who's visiting family on the South end of the country.

“My great grandma’s house is on the top of a hill and it’s on the south coast right where the hurricane’s coming," he said. "So, I don’t know what’s going to happen to that house.”

Meanwhile, over in Linstead, Jamaica, Lotaya Hunt is hunkering down with family until conditions blow over.

“The wind is very creepy. I mean we have fallen trees, things blowing around," she said. "The wind is crazy right now."

She evacuated and has taken shelter at her mother’s house fearing that her metal roof wouldn’t hold up. She worries about the damage the storm will cause.

"Really not ready to be honest. We’re really not prepared for it,” said Hunt. “I’ve heard that most of the supermarkets are basically out because there are people buying in bulk and all of that.”

Even those with secure structures share the same concerns.

“We are worried in terms of the wind,” said Kevin McKenzie.

He's hoping the winds will slow and the storm will pass without devastating the island.

“It’s going to cost a lot to repair some of the damages, especially like to the rural network, to some of the infrastructures,” McKenzie said.