Transferred but traumatised

transition of flood victims described as ‘terrible’

Port of spain — Some of the families transferred to their new residences in Oropune from Petit Valley and Dibe are grateful but still traumatised, as they think about the thousands in losses and their new lifestyle.

The homes of these families were destroyed in the flooding from heavy rains in northwest Trinidad on August 11. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and a team of officials visited the Diego Martin and Petit Valley areas last Saturday and declared a “disaster”.

Natasha Rosales, a self-employed 29-year-old who did manicures and pedicures at her Ravine Road, Petit Valley, home, yesterday described the transition as “terrible”.

“In every way possible, it’s difficult right now. They (the Housing Development Corporation) have paid three months rent and that is a comfort, then we have to foot it on our own. But after that what am I supposed to do?” she said, adding she was the sole income earner in her home.

In addition to her son Nicholas, a pupil of Petit Valley Boys RC who is set to do SEA next year, Natasha takes care of her mother Jennifer who suffers with heart, blood pressure problems and the early stages of glaucoma.

She also cares for her 31-year old sister Natalia who was diagnosed with cancer of the womb four years ago, a cancer which has now spread to her spine.

Natasha said her father died two years ago and had left the building at Ravine Road for their children which was converted into three fully-furnished apartment buildings. But the raging flood waters damaged their home irreparably last Saturday, leaving authorities to relocate them to Oropune and the family to salvage only a few appliances.

“I want them to give us some hope that we can return,” Natasha said, adding that her neighbours returned home to find dead animals including iguanas inside and their home totally uninhabitable. She said the Diego Martin Regional Corporation had been informed of the problem with the river but the whole experience was a runaround from one department to another.

“I really want them to build a retaining wall but … this could look like a permanent move,” she said.

Her neighbour Karen Sergeant, a housewife who takes care of her 11-year old daughter Kyjuana who suffers with cerebral palsy, said: “It’s tough. We went from one thing to something else. You live your life one way all the time and now you have to change. It’s really tough. But at the end of the day you have to move on.”

Sergeant said the water course travelled through the back of her house, undermining the structure and leading to its collapse.

“I don’t know if or when we will return because the engineers have to come and assess the damage,” she said, adding that she really wanted to return because her husband Dale who works at WASA is already paying a big mortgage on the five-bedroom, three and a half bath home.

“We just have three months’ grace then we have to pay $800 a month. Well I spoke to Dr Amery Browne and they working on the problem (determining if the Sergeants could move back to their homes once again) from that end but I really don’t know what will be done.” (Express)

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