Residents of 13 homes in Wallerfield received hampers and the promise of help with repairing their homes after Friday’s storm and continued bad weather, as La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster Cummings visited them on Monday.
Officials from the National Commission for Self-Help and the Land Settlement Agency were also present to assess the situation.
Most residents said the storm was terrifying. The scent of mould and mildew lingered on in many places as a reminder. In many cases the damage could not be seen from the outside as the residents had started covering the affected areas, even if their roofs were not fully secured.
At Bermuda Extension, Silica Sands Road, Daniella Brazel said she was lying in bed when she heard the wind and rain start, and then her roof lifted off.
“Between this moment and that, I was watching the sky. Everything was blowing up, the curtain was blowing up. We didn’t have any choice but to take off the breaker and leave.
“There are three of us living here. We came out, our neighbours let us sleep by them because rain was falling still.”
Joel Phillips said he, his wife, and their four children had to literally hang on to the roof to prevent it from blowing away.
“Every time it started to raise we raised with it.
“We’ve put blocks on the roof and strapped it down from the inside, but it cannot withstand if anything else was to happen.”
At Deoraj Mootilal’s house, the roof was missing from at least four rooms, and his possessions were strewn about.
“God was good to me. He picked up all the trash and put it all in one place. I just continue to pray.”
At 100 Acres, the galvanise roofing blew off of one side of Eldridge and Shara Richards’ house. Eldridge said he heard a rumbling after midnight.
“I was wondering why trucks passing at this hour. Next thing I know the neighbour called to say the roof gone. “
Jawara Aguilera said he heard a rumbling sound after midnight and the electricity went off. He said when he went outside, the roof had lifted off and fallen over.
Arthur Thomas said parts of his roof blew off but he and his family pulled back what they could, and their neighbours loaned them some galvanise sheets. Neighbour Clive Straker’s roof flipped over in its entirety but remained attached, so he was able to roll it back on.
“This is the first time this has ever happened. We normally get some breeze and some flooding, but this breeze was different. Our beds got wet and we had to move them out. We had to get the roof back on because it was mainly over our bedrooms.”
At Block 5, Josephine Jackson said the front part of the house, which had been recently renovated, had not been damaged, but the back part of the house had lost its roof.
Shenelle Ramsammy’s house had many blocks holding down the roof. Twisted steel beams could be seen protruding from the sides of the house. She said the event was traumatising for her and her children.
La Horquetta/Talparo constituency chairman Phillip Watts said 26 reports of damage to roofs were received in the constituency, with 13 being from Wallerfield.
Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation chairman Kwesi Robinson said the regional corporation’s disaster management unit, along with councillors for the area, had been out all weekend.
“Now we have the National Commission for Self-Help and the Land Settlement Agency, so it’s a whole of corporation, whole of government approach. We’re here to support our member of Parliament to provide relief as quickly as possible to the constituents.”
MP Cummings said, with the assistance of the regional corporation, the National Commission for Self-Help and the Land Settlement Agency, his office would do what it could to those affected by the bad weather.
“In moving about we realised that some people may have been vulnerable because of the condition of their roofs, and we know that the National Commission for Self Help has a facility to assist people with minor house repair. We have been able to speak with the commission’s representative and to complete the application for that type of grant funding.
Cummings said he would be visiting other communities later in the week to meet others who had been affected.