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Roofs blown off in Point Fortin, Siparia

By Richardson Dhalai Saturday, July 12 2014

HIGH winds yesterday tore the roofs of eight homes in the Point Fortin area while another seven roofs in the Siparia area were also damaged, leaving bewildered families scrambling to replace their roofs yesterday.

According to an incident report compiled by the disaster management unit of the Point Fortin Borough Corporation (PFBC), the high winds were influenced by the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The winds ripped the roofs completely off eight homes and partially damaged another roof and caused a tree to fall in Guapo, Point Fortin.

The Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC) yesterday recorded approximately 30 trouble calls from residents throughout the sprawling region due to the high winds. By press time, the SRC confirmed the roofs of seven homes had been damaged as a result of the winds.

Premnath Singh, a resident of Soomai Trace, Cap-de-Ville, Point Fortin told Newsday that the roof of his mother’s two storey house, was partially blown off by a gust of high winds at approximately 2.30 pm on Thursday evening.

“Well just around 2.30 pm, I was at home and I hear a hard breeze blow and the rain start to drizzle and I hear something fall like glass break so when I watch out I see half of the roof of my mother’s house come over on this other side,” he said.

“When I walk up the hill, I see all she louvres in the back just blow off and that was it,” he said.

He added one of his brothers, Jessie, was at home at the time and he was watching tv. “He now gone to eat, my momma, Samdaye Singh, had just gone by the home of another friend just two houses away when the roof blow off,” Singh added.

He said his mother, together with two other children lived upstairs of the house while his brother and his wife and son lived in the downstairs apartment. Asked about the weather conditions prior to the roof being blown off, he said the “rain wasn’t falling so hard, but it was hard breeze.” Singh noted that the family have lived at the same spot for over 40 years without incident.

Homes were damaged at Wickham Street, Point Fortin, Herenix Street in Cochrane village, Guapo; Fortune Street in Egypt, Point Fortin and Tenth Street, Techier Street, Point Fortin.

At Techier Street, Point Fortin, a resident, who declined to give his name, described the damage done to a building whose roof had blown off which was adjacent to his home, as minimal and belong to a relative who had passed away, “Is small thing, I will fix that up over the weekend,” he said.

Point Fortin Mayor, Clyde Paul, attributed the damage done to the eight buildings as “belonging to the freak storm community” saying these type of damage were always typical of the rainy season.

He said damage assessments had been done by the PFBC’s disaster management unit and temporary relief had been provided such as tarpaulins, food hampers and mattresses.

“We have responded in the way that we are equipped to respond meaning to give relief attention, so, we have provided food hampers, mattresses and tarpaulin, we called in the fire service and they are helping us,” Paul said, adding, “we are in the process of formalising an official needs assessment and when that is done we are going to make some demands on the ODPM and the Self Help Commission to supply us with galvanise to repair roofs.”

Paul once again reiterated his call for the disaster management programme to be placed under the control of the Army saying in developed countries, the first responders were always the nation’s military.

“The regional corporation do not have the resources or the type of training as the army corp of engineers to go into a community and repair homes” he said.

SRC chairman Leo Doodnath said the affected homes were spread across the sprawling region in such places as Syne Village in Siparia, Mon Desir in Fyzabad and Cedros.

“Our disaster manager unit is co-ordinating relief efforts and also visiting the affected areas to see what type of assistance is necessary,” Doodnath said, and noted that initial estimates for each house was estimated at just over $20,000. “We are also looking at the Self help commission to see how they can assist these families but we are distributing tarpaulins, hampers and other materials to the affected families,” he added.

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