As Hurricane Irma churns its way through the northern Caribbean, leaving behind death and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage in some countries, residents of Christ Church who were victims of another weather system three weeks ago, are slowing getting back on their feet.
Several homes in the north and south of the island were extensively damaged when Tropical Storm Harvey affected Barbados on August 18, ripping roofs, windows and doors.
The home of 42-year-old Providence resident Carol-Ann Archer, which had weathered many a storm in the past, including Tropical Storm Tomas, did not survive Harvey unscathed, as the roof was blown away and the sides of the house collapsed.
Three weeks later her family is still separated and trying to rise about the rubble. “We got the outside up and the roof on. That’s basically it. We have just been coping with the situation as it is, trying our best until we get better,” Archer told Barbados TODAY during a visit to the community this morning.
“I’m over by my mum, but husband and sons stay here. We had a little assistance with the roof and a donation was given. Our floor still needs to be fixed and other stuff, but we do little by little as we can manage.”
The mother-of-four said she had lost the majority of her home appliances, as well as clothing. However, she said her son would be ready for classes when the new school year begins on Monday.
“We didn’t do a total of the cost but my stove, fridge, television, everything in the house was damaged. Only the washing machine wasn’t damaged. There are no windows or anything.
“We managed to get my son’s school stuff, so he is almost ready; just needs one or two minor things and that’s about it,” Archer added.
Despite her loss Archer remained thankful that her situation was not worse.
“God is our provider. He is God. He will make all things beautiful in His time and I will keep my eyes fixed on the Lord. He allows things to happen as He sees fit.”
A short distance away, 64-year-old Cardinal Jones, who lives alone, was nailing together pieces of wood that had fallen off his home during the passage of Tropical Storm Harvey.
A number of galvanize sheets could still be seen on the ground near his home, and Jones told Barbados TODAY he was desperately in need of help.
“None of the galvanize didn’t come off the roof, but the house want repairing badly. Right now I have to do a lot of patching up with the hurricane season,” he said.
“People come around and I show them the paling that is down and they tell me they would come back and give me assistance . . . . I don’t work now.”
The Providence Methodist Church was also severely damaged by the storm, and today employees of Niccolls and Edghill Construction Limited could be seen working diligently, tearing down further in order to build up again.
“This morning we came to take down the other part of the roof that was damaged . . . . The damage was really bad. We are doing demolition and to finish that it’s going to take three days,” Location Supervisor Lynton Fraser said, adding that the project would cost “a couple hundreds or even thousands” of dollars.
The community spirit was alive in Providence and Parish Land immediately after the storm as gangs of young men came to the rescue of the neighbours, much to the delight of Wilfred Abrahams, the Barbados Labour Party candidate for Christ Church East.
“After the storm it was actually heartening, because the community came together. We often say that we have to be our brother’s keeper, but that was very evident there in Providence and Parish Land where everybody just helped fix the houses that were damaged,” the Opposition politician told Barbados TODAY.
“We often get negative publicity but I was heartened by the public outpouring of support for the community. We were able to assist some of the residents through manpower, building materials and accommodation. I think we should take our hats off to the residents for coming together, especially in that time after [the storm],” Abrahams said.