Diego Martin residents complain: Assistance too slow, disorganised
Gyasi Gonzales email@example.com
WITH yesterday’s moderate to heavy rains and even more expected last night, the clean-up in parts of Diego Martin continued amid complaints from some residents that they were not receiving aid quickly enough.
The Express visited the beleaguered community yesterday morning and although most major roads had been cleared, some residents were still removing destroyed items from their homes, power-washing their yards, assessing the damage to their vehicles and silently hoping that there were no more severe storms on the horizon.
Parts of Patna Village, Bagatelle and Mason Street, Diego Martin were still the scene of an extensive clean-up yesterday following a brief protest on Saturday evening along the Diego Martin Main Road after Mason Street residents complained of a lack of aid.
According to a member of the Walker-Moses family located at Mason Street, “All of our electrical items, all of our furniture got destroyed. Even my car was almost destroyed.”
The woman said that Friday morning’s flood was so bad her front gate was ripped out and deposited by her neighbour’s parked car, almost four houses away.
She said some of her neighbours almost drowned on Friday morning.
Others complained however that representatives from the Ministry of the People visited the community, “...they started treating us like we were from some kind of war zone or something.”
A woman at Mason Street extension said a truck filled with relief items arrived on Saturday afternoon and officials began handing out items with some residents pushing to get mattresses, water and food supplies.
She said she thought that it would have been done in a much more orderly manner with relief workers identifying the needs of individual households following which these items would have been delivered.
A woman said, “Yuh know how long we waiting but when the truck with the items passed people were fighting and grabbing for mattress. Me...I was not in that!”
In the meantime, Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne was seen making his way from house to house enquiring from these households as to what they needed.
Speaking briefly with the Express he said, “The aid delivery is being done too slowly.”
He echoed the sentiments of some of the residents stating that assistance was being provided in an ad hoc manner resulting in those who were not affected by the storm receiving food cards while some of those who were affected did not get anything.
Stepping in as well were two sets of churches who began collecting relief items from their parishioners since Friday.
Volunteers from the Adventist Development Relief Agency and the Jesus is the Answer and Praise Centre were on the ground yesterday, visiting from house to house, assessing the needs of the household following which items were seen being handed out. Although not on the same scale as aid provided by the State, it appeared to be much more organised.