Freak storm damage sisters’ homes
By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Friday, September 13 2013
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A FREAK storm in Princes Town blew off the roof of a house, uprooted several trees, damaged several structures and created fear among residents on Tuesday. No one was injured in the incident which affected three houses, owned by three sisters, and an apartment building located at Malgretoute Main Road in Princes Town.
Yesterday, the affected persons were assessing their losses which were conservatively put at over $70,000 and also thanked their Member of Parliament Nizam Baksh for sending representatives to their aid shortly after the incident occurred.
At about midday on Tuesday there was a heavy downpour in the area, residents said. One of the affected resident, Rosalyn “Rose” Doon, 46, said at about 1.30 pm on Tuesday, she was at her sister’s home, located next door to her’s when they heard the sounds of strong winds. Moments later, galvanize sheets on houses began to rattle.
The housewife said that after a few minutes of the ordeal, she left her sister’s home and returned to her own, only to see the roof over two bedrooms blown off. Part of the roof covering the kitchen, toilet and bath and the living room had collapsed destroying household ornaments and damaging furniture.
“The roof alone, by itself, costs about $40,000. The bedroom was flooded out because rain fell through the hole where the roof was. I was shocked at what I saw,” Doon said. She lives in the house with her husband Ramdeo, a maintenance worker and their two adult children Paras and Reshma. Both children are temporarily employed.
Doon said that at the time of the freak storm, no one was at home. Yesterday, a blue tarpaulin covered the damaged section of the roof. Shortly after the incident, representatives from the MP’s office visited and offered assistance to Doon and other affected persons. Doon noted that the office was working in collaboration with the National Commission for Self Help to give her a grant of $15,000 which will go towards rebuilding.
But while Doon was grateful for the assistance she was unsure how the family would repair the entire roof as they did not have the financial means to meet whatever financial shortfall there is.
“The MP is really helping and Shawn (the representative who visited) did not hesitate to offer assistance. The window and other parts of the house were left cracked, the table was damaged, ornaments were destroyed. So the money we received is not really enough. But it is a start,” Doon said. Her sister, Ruth Ramoutar-Autar, 49, said that some fig trees were uprooted and branches from two nearby trees ( avocado and a chataigne) were broken by the strong winds. Ramoutar-Autar, an Unemployment Relief Programme worker, lives with her husband Ramsumair, 51, and their two children.
The woman said her house is being undermined due to water from the main road which she said gushes into her property whenever it rains. She claimed to have sought help on numerous occasions from the authorities, but to no avail.
“My house is cracking due to the water. I am appealing to anyone to assist me. When the rain falls heavily, the water overflows from the drain and runs into my property,” Ramoutar-Autar said.
The home of third sister, Ria Reviero, 40, was also damaged due to the freak storm. Reviero recalled that the wind blew part of the rooftop of the apartment complex into the roadway which resulted in a traffic pileup. “It went in the middle of the road. Some galvanise sheets were tossed about, but luckily no one was hurt,” she said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Baksh said he was now leaving Port-of-Spain en route to the affected persons’ homes. “When we got the call, my people immediately went to the affected area. We are working with the Self Help Commission. We have a lot of compassion and we would see what arrangements can be made for the family whose damage was in excess of the $15,000 grant,” Baksh assured.