The community of Oronoque Drive in the Retrieve area of Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), is literally now trying to pick up the pieces following Wednesday’s passage of a freak storm that wreaked havoc on residents.
When this publication visited the area on Thursday, numerous affected residents
could be seen trying to reconstruct their roofs and placing household items out to dry.
As severe winds ripped through the area at approximately 15:00hrs, the home of the DeClou family of 274 Oronoque Drive was apparently hardest hit. The entire roof of that home was blown away, while several parts of its interior were completely damaged.
Switdzer DeClou said he was not at home when the storm hit, but he noted that his 4-year-old grandson, who was at home with his son, was asleep on a double-bunk bed when the storm hit, raining pieces of wood into the home and the room where the child had been sleeping. Luckily, no one was injured.
“When this breeze came, it knock off all the zinc (from the roof) and (dismantled) the steps. It start “revving up” the house. By time he (his son) ran in, dem wood come down in the bed and missed the baby. It hit the kitchen too,” the resident disclosed. When the publication visited, the elder DeClou was assessing the damage.
His son, Mark DeClou, said he was caught off guard. “I was on the steps when suddenly a heavy breeze just pass. Actually, it moved me, and I just jumped off the steps and just watched as all the zinc sheets start flying. It just started collapsing. Dem beams just start falling in. When it ease, I just run inside. There he was (his son), saying, ‘Daddy!’ ” he recalled.
The older DeClou noted that the family has managed to secure temporary lodging in the area, since their entire home is now uninhabitable and would have to be reconstructed.
“This here (house) got to come right down. This whole frame done. It (storm) rip up all dem bolts. So this whole house got to loose down and come back with a new house”, he said. DeClou said the family were also awaiting further word from Regional Chairman Renis Morian, who visited on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Malita Jerome said she had to scramble to secure her household appliances during the storm. A section of her roof was blown away, and she is reportedly living in fear, because, should there be a recurrence of the storm, the other section of her roof might be blown away as well.
Family members were in the process of putting the roof back together on Thursday.
Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland and Regional Chairman Renis Morian visited to see what assistance could be provided to residents.
Disaster response plan/committee
At the scene on Thursday, Holland said on Wednesday evening he received a report of the storm while he was in meetings at the Council, and he would have received various photos from residents, depicting damages to their homes.
“It is very unfortunate that this would have happened, and this just highlights the urgent need for a Natural Disaster Response Plan or a Committee, so that we can respond to things such as these, to help our residents whenever they are faced with such situations. Recently, we had an elderly resident whose house fell in Richmond Hill. Once again, as a result of the heavy winds that were passing through…We want to find some way in which Government can readily assist persons in these situations…I believe we need to come together as a community and give assistance, and we’re calling for a plan to be put in place for these natural disasters”, Holland said.
He noted that the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) has a meagre Community Fund which can only provide little assistance. As such, he made calls for additional funds to be made available for the Council, to provide assistance to residents in such times.
“I know we have the CDC and these organisations, but we’re on the ground, we should have an immediate response team”, Holland posited.