Mon | Jan 18, 2021

‘I have to abandon here’ - Irish Town resident forced to flee after land slippages threaten home

Published:Tuesday | November 24, 2020 | 12:08 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Peter Clarke’s house on the edge. The foundation was severely damage by a massive landslide during Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta
Peter Clarke’s house on the edge. The foundation was severely damage by a massive landslide during Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta
The is Peter Clarke’s home on the edge. The foundation of his home was severely damage by a massive landslide during heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta.
The is Peter Clarke’s home on the edge. The foundation of his home was severely damage by a massive landslide during heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta.
Peter Clarke explains what took place on night of November 7 when heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta cause a massive landslide that threatens the very foundation of his home.
Peter Clarke explains what took place on night of November 7 when heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta cause a massive landslide that threatens the very foundation of his home.
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New challenges face Peter Clarke, whose home teeters on the edge of destruction after flood rains assaulted the hilly terrain of Irish Town, triggering multiple land slippages three Sundays ago.

The 48-year-old has been forced to expedite his relocation to a house nearby that was believed to be safer.

Clarke, who lives in the area of Irish Town called Twelve Mile, told The Gleaner recently that a huge section of the land around his home suddenly began to break away, soon after rains started on the night of November 8.

Disaster unfolded in minutes.

He told The Gleaner that large mango trees and a wall all went down in a landslide, leaving a frightening scenery.

“When me walk and go round the road and look, around 5 p.m., the mango trees and the wall were here. But by me fi come back up, the two mango trees that were here and the wall, everything gone down. It was late inna di night, so mi never bother rush it.

“Mi still go back eeen and sidung up pon di bed. I was sitting up and sleeping, because I said if anything going to move, I not going to mek it move wid me. Suh mi did affi sleep and watch waa gwaan. As day break, I started to take out things out of the house. This was Sunday night going into Monday,” he explained.

Luckily, a woman, who currently resides overseas, gave the permission for Clarke to stay at her premises until better comes his way. Clarke’s father is the caretaker for the woman’s property.

Clarke told The Gleaner that he was concerned about disassembling his home, which was made mostly from wood, before it slid downhill and on to the Irish Town main road.

“My immediate plan is to try and take down this (boards) before it go down. Some guys supposed to come and help me. I have to abandon here. Over here was solid and as you can see, it crack and come all the way over. Right now, you look, you will see another piece crack and as soon as we get any more rain, dat going slide, too. This is the impact it leave, so we just trying to move it as soon as possible before it go down to the road. It’s like a precipice. I live here for 17 years and I can’t believe that this land could move like this.”

Clarke’s father, Calvin, assessed the situation and said there was no way his son could remain there. The elderly Clarke surmised that the land became susceptible to ruin following recent earthquakes and was finished off by the rains.

“We did have nuff, nuff heavy rain and earthquake that shake up the land and soften it, then the rain come again and wash it weh. Him definitely cyaa stay deh suh. A ova one house next door mi mek him stay,” Calvin told The Gleaner.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com