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Jamaican-Americans in the NE USA Respond to Impact of Tropical Storm Gustav on Island Nation

NEW YORK – As Tropical Storm Gustav moves across the Caribbean island-nation of Jamaica, Jamaican-Americans in the North East United States are moving proactively to assemble a response to the storm.

As of noon on Thursday, Gustav had sustained winds of 70 mph as it sat about 80 miles east of Kingston, the capital. Observers suggested the wind speeds could increase, leading to significant threats to persons, property and the environment. Reports on the ground earlier today indicated that Jamaicans have deserted the streets and government offices have closed as the strengthening Gustav takes aim at the island. Emergency shelters were opened in several areas and Jamaicans have been encouraged to seek the safety of these sites.

“It is imperative that we keep a close eye on what is happening immediately in Jamaica,” said Patrick Beckford, Northeast USA board member of the Jamaica Diaspora Movement. “Our families and communities on-island may be negatively impacted by this tropical storm…we have to be at the ready to lend a hand should this indeed become reality.”

Beckford and a team of Jamaican-American leaders, including members of the diplomatic corps, have been in constant communication and are preparing to activate their community-based disaster relief efforts in support of on-island Jamaicans.

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