Bad weather leaves million-$ damage

RIPPED OFF: Part of the roof of this home at Phekoo Avenue Bonne Aventure Gasparillo was blown off by strong winds on Thursday.  - Lincoln Holder
RIPPED OFF: Part of the roof of this home at Phekoo Avenue Bonne Aventure Gasparillo was blown off by strong winds on Thursday. - Lincoln Holder

The homes affected by Thursday's bad weather in Gasparillo will cost close to $1 million to repair.

Repairs to Dr Andrew Scarlett's home at Pekhoo Avenue could run into hundreds of thousands, his son David Scarlett said.

Repairs had already started on the Scarletts' roof when Newsday visited the area on Friday.

The younger Scarlett, a schoolteacher and Newsday freelance sports writer, said, “The whole roof will have to be replaced, and we would need a new ceiling as well.”

He said they had a very stable roof, but the powerful wind which swept through the community left the steel beams in the home “twisted like plasticine.”

He said winds also ripped off a huge branch from a mango tree, which travelled over 100 feet from a vacant lot across from the house and landed on one of the  windows.

He said furniture and appliances were also damaged.

The roof of his neighbour’s home was also damaged.

Scarlett said the family has lived in that area for over eight years, and it was the first time he had witnessed such a phenomenon. He said no one was at home at the time but footage from their cameras has left them terrified by the brutal force of the winds.

Rahaman Trace resident Maureen Nobee, sitting among the ruined, waterlogged furniture and appliances under a tent in her yard, said the images of her roof rising, the howling sounds of the menacing wind, and the pouring rain caused her nightmares every time she closed her eyes on Thursday night.

She said she had never experienced such terror or witnessed such terrifying weather.

“It was a frightening experience and I am still terrified,” she said.

Newsday encountered representatives from the National Commission for Self-Help and the Ministry of Social Development who visited Nobee to assess the damages on Friday.

Self Help will assist her and the other 11 affected households with the material for repairs, while the Social Development Ministry will provide grants to replace furniture and appliances.

Gasparillo/Bonne Aventure councillor Ravi Pooran Maharaj told the Newsday in the aftermath of that unusual weather pattern, over 40 residents have been left traumatised.

Maharaj offered counselling to overcome their trauma.

He said it was not a service offered by the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC). on which he sits, but he was willing to personally talk to the residents.

If that was insufficient, he said he would hire private people to counsel them. He said he was not certain if this was a service the Social Development Ministry offered.

Although Maharaj’s home, which sits in the middle of one of the badly affected areas near the Gasparillo Secondary School, was not damaged, he said his mother, who was home, was terrified by what happened and still shaken.

He said the clean-up began early on Friday, and they cleared felled trees, including one which fell on a teacher’s van at Gasparillo Secondary.

He commended the ODPM for providing tarpaulins and mattresses to affected residents as well as T&TEC for restoring power mere hours after the disaster.

He also expressed gratitude to corporate Gasparillo for providing hamper,s which were to be distributed on Friday and Saturday.


"Bad weather leaves million-$ damage"

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