Tue | Nov 20, 2018

It costs to prepare for hurricanes - St Thomas residents

Published:Thursday | June 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Church Road in Bath, St.Thomas, is prone to flooding whenever the Plantain Garden River overflows.
Errol Walker, resident of Bath, St Thomas
Residents of Church Road in Bath, St.Thomas, look at the Plantain Garden River that has changed course and is now threatening their community.
Debris left nearby a drain after cleaning in Bath, St Thomas.
Trinityville community in St Thomas, is prone to flooding from nearby rivers whenever it rains heavily.
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Some residents of Trinityville and Bath in St Thomas have indicated that they are in the process of preparing for the hurricane season. They have said, however, that over the years, preparation has proven to be very expensive.

The hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends on November 30 every year.

In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Alfred Grant , a resident of the community, said that his experiences with heavy rains and hurricanes throughout the years have taught him to always exercise caution when the hurricane season comes around. He has noted, however, that materials such as plyboard can be very costly for the ordinary person.

"We have to do what we can because we don't know the minute or the hour when disaster is going to come. We usually get a warning, so we use the time to prepare," Grant said. "The batten down thing costs money, though. It's a lot of things that are required. We have to think about plyboard, zinc, food, and maybe other material. Sometimes the money is not available to do everything, but we do what we can," he told The Gleaner team during a tour of communities to assess residents' readiness for the hurricane season.

"I always take precaution because I remember during [Hurricane] Ivan that my babymother was pregnant with my last son," Grant recounted. "I told her that it was best to leave our house and go and stay with my sister. By the time I left with her then returned to my house, every roof top between the two houses (his sister's and his) was gone, blown off. I know from experience that you can't take these things for joke," he stated.

His neighbour, Phillip Grant, echoed similar sentiments but said that he would leave everything to God.

"The house and the land can go . Once we have life, everything else is vanity. We will try and batten down as best as possible, but it dear (expensive) bad. In my father's time, we could a buy zinc for no more than penny. Things expensive now.

"Is God we are talking about, so we can't control it [hurricane]. We just have to make sure we do our part," he reasoned.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com