Freak storm leaves 10 homeless

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Freak storm leaves 10 homeless

Ten people had to seek alternative housing on Saturday, after a freak storm hit Central Trinidad, seriously damaging two homes.

Strong winds around 8:30 am, hit two homes in Palmiste Village along the Caparo Valley Brasso Road.
The roof of one of those homes was torn off and the galvanized steel sheets then ripped off nearby telephone wires.

Cindy Sooklal, a resident of one of the apartments, told GML in an interview that she was asleep on her bed with her son when she heard a noise and then the rain started wetting her and they ran outside.

There were also reports of a fallen tree in Cunaripo, Sangre Grande.

Senior disaster management co-ordinator for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Jerry David said the number of reports of roofs being blown off had troubled him.

“One report in particular caught my attention. The entire structure of the roof slid off the structure of the house and impacted the electrical wires and cables attached to the home. That is a situation that could have easily worsened. So, it seems that in Trinidad and Tobago, one of our biggest problems in these times, in the rainy seasons, is how roofs have been secured.

“We have persons who are only using heavy iron and bricks, trying to hold down their roofs. And then there’s the issue with persons having tall trees around their homes. And in these times with strong winds, many of those homes are now put in what I like to call a state of emergency.

“All that is needed to change that state of emergency to a state of disaster is to have a hazard with high wind impact in their community,” David said.

“Prevention is better than cure. So, I want to admonish T&T citizens with the hopes that they will mitigate these hazards. We cannot prevent disasters from happening, but we can mitigate beforehand how bad a situation is by preparing properly,” David said.

Couva Tabaquite Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) Chairman Henry Awong urged members of the public to inspect their roofs and conduct repairs.

“We would like persons to take a proactive approach and repair their roofs, change rotten beams, install hurricane straps,” Awong urged. “This can save you from incurring tremendous losses.”

Awong said, “People who cannot afford must have access to funds from the National Commission for Self Help Limited to do preventative maintenance. Self Help, too, must get on board and be proactive and make themselves more accessible to persons who cannot afford.”