Help is on the way for three St Philip residents whose properties suffered severe damage during the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew yesterday.
Parliamentary representative for St Philip North Michael Lashley, who toured the constituency this morning along with Acting Minister of the Environment and Drainage Senator Jepter Ince, gave the assurance that they would all be assisted.
The high winds from the storm that pounded the island on Wednesday tore off roofs in Moncrieffe and Congo Road. The strong gusts also felled a tree in Blades Hill, causing damage to the roof of a house.
Moncrieffe resident Mardel Vaughn was the most affected.
The wooden and wall structure she has called home for the past 63 years is now inhabitable.
Vaughn told Barbados TODAY this morning that she had decided to ride out the storm at her mother’s house after her niece became “panicky and said ‘come, come’” when the winds picked up and “the roof [started] lifting off”.
She learned from a neighbour about the damage to her home.
“Wednesday after 1 p.m., my neighbour called and told me that the roof off and we came back home. From the bathroom, the roof gone and the moisture in the ceiling [caused] it to start to cave in and water is just pouring in the house,” Vaughn explained.
She told Barbados TODAY that apart from the roof, her stove and washing machine were also damaged.
“When I come home and I see it, tell you the truth, I cried,” she said. After Minister Lashley informed her that her home was structurally unsound, she added: “I can’t put into words but just now I just feel like crying.”
Over in Blades Hill, part of the roof of a wall structure was damaged.
“That is being taken care of by MTW,” said Lashley. “Generally we have had no issues throughout the constituency, but I am dealing with matters that are very urgent now in the constituency. We have had other issues like water leakage but so far so good,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY as he stopped to talk to residents about their experiences over the past 24 hours.
When a Barbados TODAY team visited Congo Road, workmen were already making temporary fixes to Samatha Rawlins’ house by stretching out canvas to keep out the elements.
“Yesterday morning, roughly about 11a.m., the rain started and next minute we heard this howling sound and when I came outside the roof was coming off. So I got some of the fellas round here and we battle in the rain, the wind, everything, and put the blocks on top of the house,” she explained.
Rawlins said while her family of four had made the necessary checks and was ready for the passage of the system, they were not prepared for the extent of the damage.
“I have been living here for 31 years . . . . There is nowhere else to go . . . . I experience Tomas but I did not experience any house damage. It’s the first time for me experiencing anything so, and my grandmother, from the time I told her, she wasn’t feeling well . . . . I haven’t slept [because I had to] stand and wait in case of anything else.”
Minister Lashley, she explained, had already put measures in place to assist her family.
“I have contacted the director of Rural Development [about the situation] and after we meet at Cabinet tomorrow then we will try to put systems in place to get those houses repaired,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY.
Meanwhile, Senator Ince expressed concern about the level of flooding in St Philip and other areas.
He said the Government was ready to lend a helping hand to those affected.
“I always say you are never a hundred per cent prepared. You can’t control the amount of rainfall, you can’t control the wind speeds. What you can do is examine the resources that you have and look to minimize as much damage as possible and the Government is ready to respond to any of the challenges that we have . . . MTW is fully mobilized [as well as] the Drainage Unit . . . and based on what we have seen, it is not beyond the resources of our agencies,” he said.