PORT OF SPAIN –– Braving the pouring rain yesterday, Sameer Ali began trying to piece together the small wooden home he shares with his wife and five children which was destroyed by floods from Tropical Storm Bret last week.
Ali, his common-law wife Ramrajie Chance and the children had to be rescued from the same house in Sunrees Road, Penal last week Tuesday when rising flood waters trapped them inside. Ramrajie, 32, is pregnant with her sixth child.
The flood water, some four feet high, saturated the plyboard walls and wooden floor, leaving the house uninhabitable.
Since then, the family has been housed in the La Costena Activity Centre in Penal. Through donations of private citizens and the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation, they have been provided with food hampers, cooked meals, clothing and other items. One generous donor even gave the family a stove.
Yesterday, their luck continued when a distant relative of Ali, who asked to be identified only as “Uncle” purchased 20 sheets of construction ply for them. Another donor, through the office of Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar, donated another ten sheets of ply.
At the house yesterday, the old walls were removed and with the help of “Uncle” and Ali’s friends, Anthony Jaggernauth and Harold Muradali, new walls were put up.
Ply sheets were also nailed over the gaping floor boards, as Ali said he did not want the children to fall through.
“Uncle really came to Trinidad for a holiday but when he see the situation I was in, he came to help me,” Ali said.
The family is being assessed by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to determine if they qualify for emergency assistance.
Ali said although he is holding out hope for that assistance, he is trying to get his family out of the activity centre, so it can be used for other activities again.
“They have courses going on there and for right now we can’t remain there all the time,” he said.