Strong winds damage elderly Tobago woman’s home

An elderly Tobago woman has thanked God for sparing her life after part of her wooden house collapsed early on Wednesday.

Marjorie Taylor, 79, of Taylor Avenue, Bethany, shook her head in disbelief as she looked at the remains of the small structure she called home for more than 20 years.

Taylor said the house collapsed around 4am.

“I was inside. I was not sleeping and I just heard a noise and I run out,” the soft-spoken woman told Newsday. “I just fly out of the house and everything come down.”

Powerful winds, triggered by a potential tropical cyclone, dislodged at least three of the wooden posts that had supported the housed.

A glance inside revealed that appliances, wall plaques, clothes and other items were strewn all over the floor, leaving the doorway to the living room impassable.

Bethany resident Marjorie Taylor talks to the media after her wooden home was badly damaged on Wednesday morning owing to strongs winds which accompanied a tropical wave. – David Reid

Though deeply concerned about her future, Taylor said she did not shed a tear after the incident.

“I doh cry so easy.”

She is hoping the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will help to fix her home.

Taylor said she has no intention of cursing her misfortune: “That is God’s work.”

Taylor, who walks with a cane, believes her late parents and other deceased relatives, including an elder brother, are responsible for sparing her life.

“I was never rude to them growing up.”

Her younger brother Aldwyn, who lives a few steps away in a concrete house, said the news left him disturbed.

“I felt real funny, because she could have died,” he said.

Aldwyn said his sister will not be able to return to her house any time soon.

“Look how the place is. Everything mix up. So she will have to stay by me until better can be done. Something has to happen.”

He said officials from the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) visited his sister shortly after her house collapsed

“They told us that people from the Division of Settlements, Public Utilities and Rural Development will come to do an assessment of the damage. So we are waiting to see what happens.”

Taylor’s fallen home was among 11 reports to the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) after heavy rain and strong winds, associated with the tropical wave, affected several villages on the island.

TEMA reported the bad weather downed utility lines and trees in Lowlands, Calder Hall and Les Coteaux. The agency also reported that small rocks had fallen onto the road in Charlotteville and a roof was damaged in Lambeau.

Although TEMA’s Emergency Operations Centre was deactivated at 6 am on Wednesday, THA representatives were busy assessing damage in their electoral districts.

Items in Marjorie Taylor’s wooden home in Bethany were toppled on Wednesday after strong winds caused damage to its structure. – David Reid

Canaan/Bon Accord assemblyman Joel Sampson, speaking to Newsday in Bethany, said apart from minor flooding in Crown Point, in front of the main entrance to the Coco Reef Resort & Spa, his area was not badly affected.

“That matter should be resolved by September,” said Sampson, who is also the assistant secretary in the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development.

TEMA director Allan Stewart said the agency has responded to 11 reports, and expected that figure to increase but not substantially.

“We had reports of two landslides, fallen trees, a collapsed structure and a motor vehicle stuck on the road in the Concordia area where WASA was doing some work. Given the type of rainfall we are experiencing, that could increase.

“But we believe the worst is out of the way.”

On Tuesday, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said 17 of Tobago’s 33 shelters were opened to accommodate distressed citizens, ahead of the bad weather.

Schools in Tobago were also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Classes are expected to resume on Thursday.

The Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development, in a release, said owing to the discontinuation of the tropical storm advisory, the Buccoo Reef Marine Park had reopened to reef tour operators and other interests. However, the division advised people to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures where necessary.


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