At least one Trini has been confirmed among the 37 (up to news time) people killed as a direct result of Hurricane Irma which last week slammed into several Caribbean countries as a monster Category 5 storm. Irma is being blamed for at least 17 deaths in the US after it lashed Florida, Georgia and South Carolina albeit as a much weaker Category One hurricane and then a tropical storm over the weekend.
Emily Pasqual was numb yesterday at her Arima home as she struggled to come to terms with the loss of her sister Melan June Salvary-Doyle who along with her (Salvary-Doyle) grandson Oliver Robert-Gedio, three, were swept to their deaths in raging flood waters when Irma unleashed her fury on the tiny island of St Martin last Wednesday.
“I am in denial. I am just trying to cope,” Pasqual told Newsday during an interview at her Hall Street, Sherwood Park home. Even more disheartening, Pasqual said, is her family’s inability to contact Salvary-Doyle’s daughter Daphne Doyle since the tragedy occurred at the latter’s 32 A, Rue Round The Pond French Quarters in St Martin.
Pasqual said Daphne was not at home at the time of the tragedy as she had been taking care of a newborn grand-daughter at a house a short distance away. “I haven’t seen anything or spoken to her,” Pasqual said of her niece Daphne. “I am only saying what other people told us because there has been no communication. It was just what you what other people told us. There was no communication directly to her.”
Pasqual said the family has been able to rely on her own daughter, who lives in the United States and a niece in Canada, for information concerning Salvary-Doyle and the toddler. “They have been getting in contact with us and relaying messages. We have just been getting second and third party information.”
In the interim, Pasqual said a wake to celebrate the life of Salvary-Doyle, 64, and her three-year-old grandchild had been planned for last night at her Sherwood Park home. Pasqual disputed claims on social media that her sister, a Trinidadian national, died while on vacation in St Martin.
“She did not go on vacation but her daughter (Daphne) lives up there and she would sometimes make two trips a year. Daphne has been living up there for the past two decades,” Pasqual said.
Pasqual said Salvary-Doyle, a mother of six who lived in San Fernando, left Trinidad about three weeks oge Hurricane Irma hit St Martin last Wednesday. Police in St Martin confirmed Salvary-Doyle and the toddler’s deaths on Sunday. Pasqual said the family was told that when the house Salvary-Doyle was in began falling apart when Irma touched down, she and the rest of the family decided to leave for another house a short distance away.
Pasqual said that just before her sister and the toddler reached the house, “the flood waters and sea came in and the waves took them.” Pasqual said since receiving the grim news, she has not been sleeping well. She expressed sadness for all who died during Irma’s passage in St Martin and other Caribbean islands. Yesterday, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Stuart Young said the Government was saddened by the deaths of Salvary-Doyle and her grandson.