Laurel V Williams
Sitting on a chair in the ruins of his home in Mayaro on Monday, 80-year-old pensioner Franklyn Charles recalled that Sunday morning’s strong winds ended a conversation prematurely with his neighbour.
The winds ripped off his roof, which landed on the road in front of his home at St Ann’s West Street. His house was one of nine damaged by heavy rain and strong winds in several parts of the community early Sunday, affecting about 20 people. There were no injuries reported.
“I was right here talking to him. His car was on the road, and with the noise, he left to move it. The roof in the kitchen was raising, so I leaned against the front door. I heard another noise and saw my roof flying in the road,” Charles said.
“The spot where his car was, the roof fell right there. He moved that car in time. When I watched, the winds ripped off the (electric) meter, and wires were sparking.”
Charles, who moved from Station Road, Siparia, to Mayaro at 21, said he did not have the money to rebuild immediately. TT Electricity Commission workers disconnected the electricity and helped put a tarpaulin over the wooden structure.
“I live alone. I have some clothes to wash, but I have no electricity. I would have to do it like long ago. Everything is wet inside,” Charles said.
Mayaro Rio Claro Regional Corporation chairman Raymond Cozier and workers from the corporation’s disaster management unit revisited affected residents on Monday.
Mayaro MP Rushton Paray also met with them.
Two other houses in the street were also damaged.
Renaldo Heminez said he was awakened by the “whistling winds” at about 6 am. He looked outside and saw strong winds pushing his neighbour’s roof inside the wooden house.
To his disbelief, the roof raised off again and landed about 20 feet away. The winds also ripped off several boards from his home, and with the help of others, they secured his roof.
“If she was home, she would not have made it out alive,” he said, referring to his neighbour Christine Roop.
Roop was not in the area when Newsday visited on Monday.
At Lewis and Sucre Street, off the Manzanilla Road in Mayaro, four families were affected.
Recalling the ordeal, Veronica Noel said she prayed from 6 am to around 8 am when the rain and winds stopped.
“The galvanised sheets above my bedroom were raising. I got off bed and went to the gallery. I was praying and praying for protection,” Noel said.
“I never experienced anything like this in my 59 years on this earth. My bed got wet, but the roof did not blow off. My brother came later on and tied it down with a rope. I saw one of my neighbour’s roofs raise like a sheet of paper.”
She referred to the recent storm warning saying, had the storm passed over Trinidad, she would have been dead.
The house would not have been able to withstand the winds.
She and other affected residents were filling out several forms from the National Commission for Self Help Ltd for grants to repair their homes.
Residents from Solomon Street, Mayaro, and Calmapas Village in Guayaguayare were also affected.