‘We ran from winds’
By Cecily Asson Thursday, July 5 2012
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HOLE IN ROOF: Workers from the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) assist in repairing the roof of a house owned by Lloyd Harricharan which along with...
Strong winds on Tuesday evening not only ripped off the roofs from five houses in south Trinidad but also blew down a garage shed, damaging two cars under repair, one of them owned by Cedros councillor Fitzroy Beache.
The other car, a 626 Mazda, is owned by pastor Anthony Berment.
Tuesday’s freak storm which hit Point Fortin and Chatham, came without any warning.
Luckily there were no injuries.
Tall trees were uprooted, and thousands of dollars worth of crops destroyed. A resident who rears talipia fish (breeders) was forced to switch off the electricity.
The affected residents are Lucille Nanan, 56, Lloyd Harricharan, 54, his father Ramkissoon Harricharan, 74, Shazam Mohammed, 47, all of North Trace Cap-de-Ville, Point Fortin and mechanic Steve Joseph, 47, and Norva Toney, 49, of Belle Vue in Chatham.
Residents were assisted with repairs yesterday by workers of the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP), under the supervision of Manager Monty Sampson, assistant manager Reshma Soodeen and regional supervisor Grenville Ayers.
Sampson said repairs were done to houses. “We have carpenters, masons and other skilled persons assisting here as best as we could,” he said.
Officials of the Disaster Management Unit of the Siparia Regional Corporation also helped.
Disaster co-ordinator Donna Woods said six mattresses and a hamper were distributed to affected families.
Referral letters were given to residents to take to the Social Welfare Division office in Point Fortin and the National Self Help Commission in San Fernando.
Residents said that “in less that 20 seconds” the forces of nature had them scampering for safety as roofs were blown off. They stood and watched sheets of galvanise toss about in the air, landing elsewhere. Several sheets of galvanise remained stuck in a bamboo patch.
Joseph recalled that on Tuesday, at about 5 pm, he was under the bonnet of Beache’s brown B14 Nissan Sunny car when there was a breeze followed by a slight rain.
“All of a sudden the wind got stronger and I moved from under the bonnet. I had to run because the breeze was so strong that it blew the heavy tools off the table. The next thing I heard was a noise and I saw the shed collapse on the cars.”
The shed was constructed out of drill pipe and welded together, Joseph added.
“If you see the shed how it was going up and down, up and down before the wind tore it out of the ground lifted it into the air before it dropped back down on the cars.”
Total cost of damage to the cars and shed are estimated at $18,000.
Mohammed, a casual labourer, said a “high wind” lasted about 20 seconds but blew away roofs.
“A neighbour’s roof ended up by the river, mine ended up 200 feet to the back in the bush. I cannot use my material again because everything is just mashed up. It was good that our neighbours came out and helped put back everything temporarily,” Mohammed said.
Minister of the People and social Development Dr Glenn Ramad-
harsingh yesterday said the Ministry activated its emergency response team in the area when noticed of the damage.
“This could happen to any village and could happen to anybody. There are no defined paths for these strong winds.
“It is an arbitrary thing, it is important that we become our neighbours’s keeper,” he said.