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Hurricane Beryl destroys family homes in Caribbean


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Many of the islands in the Caribbean were severely impacted including the small island of Mayreau.

THORNTON, Colo. — Before Hurricane Beryl landed in Texas, it roared through the islands of the Caribbean, including the small island of Mayreau

Late last week, Beryl tore through parts of Mexico and the Caribbean, it weakened before it made an appearance on the mainland. Many of the Caribbean islands like Mayreau were severely impacted.  

“It’s just a small little village on the top of the hill and two beautiful bays that people recreate in,” Aly Ollivierre said in her Thornton home Wednesday. “It’s just a wonderful community of people that I’ve had the pleasure of living and working with for almost a decade and a half.”

Ollivierre may live in the Denver metro area but a piece of her heart is in Mayreau. Her husband, Turban Vendol Ollivierre, is from there and much of his family still lives on the island. 

“They don’t get hit by hurricanes like this. This is not normal,” Ollivierre said. 

Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island of the Grenadines. The director of the National Emergency Management Organization in Saint Vincent said about 95% of the houses on that island and another were damaged or destroyed. 

That includes the homes of Turban Ollivierre’s parents and siblings. 

“Mayreau is a jewel and unique and a combination of people that take it to the next level,” he said. “I’m having a hard time processing it I can’t imagine what’s happening back home.” 

Much of Ollivierre’s family endured the storm together. In the thick of it, they turned over a couch and hid underneath it for cover. 

“So they’re in my sister’s home and they’re watching this roof coming off,” he said. “Windows are breaking, glasses are shattering and [they’re] hearing this and I know and like mom lost everything in a space of five hours.”

This story is unfortunately not unique on this island. Many of the homes and businesses were destroyed. Ollivierre said much of the area has been left without power or cell service. It’s why she is doing what she can from Thornton. 

“It was really hard to watch it coming and knowing there wasn’t anything to be done at that point,” she said. “Once we had a little bit of contact with people from the islands we tried to organize everything we could from there.” 

Ollivierre said they created a spreadsheet to check in on the 350+ people who call the island home. They created a GoFundMe to start building funds for whatever the residents may need. 

Ollivierre is also on a board of directions for an organization called, “We Are Mayreau.” It is a nonprofit that helps develop resources for the community. They’ve built a community center and a preschool and other initiatives that will likely all need to be rebuilt after the storm. 

“We’re a little overlooked by the government and most definitely by the world as a whole just based on the population size there,” Ollivierre admitted. “It’s just one of those places where everybody has to come together to build anything they want to build.” 

Ollivierre said Mayreau’s rebuild may take years which will impact the island’s main economic source, tourism. Ollivierre hoped what happened here would encourage people to educate themselves on the smaller islands in the Caribbean that don’t get the same attention others do.

While the rebuild may be rough the Ollivierre’s know the people of Mayreau are resilient.

“Mayreau will maybe be even better,” Turbon Ollivierre’s said. “We’ll still be that tourist destination that people come to see, so ‘Mayreau Strong, Mayreau Strong.'”



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Hurricane Beryl destroys family homes in Caribbean

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