Friday, December 15, 2017

High winds rip off South roofs


ALL THAT’S LEFT: Brent Luces surveys the damage done to his home on Thursday afternoon following stormy weather which also damaged two other houses on his street in Pleasantville. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

BRENT Luces was sitting in his house at San Fernando, when he heard a noise and looked out to see galvanised roofing sheets peeling off his neighbour’s house and flying by.

Before he could react, Luces’s roof also tumbled on to the roadway. It happened during an extensive thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon, which caused damage to at least 30 houses across South Trinidad.

Luces, 36, said he was at home at the corner of Cypress Boulevard and Redwood Drive, Pleasantville, when the rains and howling winds came around 3 p.m. 

“There was heavy shower of rain and then heavy breeze. I heard a noise and I went outside and was watching the neighbour’s galvanise flying. Then another neighbour called out to me and said my roof blow off. Nobody was upstairs, but the rain came in and soaked up everything. And rain fell again this morning, so everything is a complete mess,” said Luces. 

Up until yesterday, the roof was still on the roadway. 

Luces, who lives with other relatives, including four children, said the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) supplied tarpaulin and mattresses to the family. 

Chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation, Leo Doodnath, said he visited several houses in Siparia and Cedros yesterday where galvanised roofing sheets were taken by the heavy winds, leaving homes open to the heavy rainfall. 

“We got at least 30 reports thus far and the damage is especially to the roofs. I visited some of the victims and I estimated each house suffered $20,000 in damage. The Siparia Regional Corporation is distributing hampers, mattresses and tarpaulin to those affected and working with other State agencies such as the National Self-Help Commission and Ministry of the People and Social Development to lend assistance,” said Doodnath. 

Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul said what occurred was not unusual as residents experience a similar storm annually. However, this year’s damage was worse than last year, he said.

Paul said the Point Fortin Borough Corporation was doing all they could to assist.

He said, “We supplied mattress,  hampers and tarpaulins with the assistance of the ODPM and Fire Services. We are currently working on a formalised list of the ones affected which we will give to the ODPM. We have not completed that because we want to be disciplined. What we ask for we want to get. In reasonable time, things should return to normal.”

On Wednesday, heavy winds tore the roofs of several homes in South Trinidad, with one man being trapped when a fallen tree crashed into his bedroom in Mayaro.