Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
Memories of the tragedy that struck along the Sandy Gully in Liguanea two years ago have become far more vivid in the minds of residents in the area over the last two weeks.
Recent heavy rains have caused mass deterioration to the gully and residents are fearful that at any moment the community could be greeted with an experience similar to what took place on the morning of September 9, 2010, when five members of a family were swept away by murky waters and killed after their house collapsed into the gully.
Today, some of those living in the area say they have been calling the area home for the past 30 years and have nowhere else to go. As a result, they say they have been left with no choice other than to depend on the mercy of the authorities who made promises to repair the area in the wake of the tragic event.
More than two years have now passed and nothing has been done. The residents have become infuriated and are now chastising authorities for feeding them with empty promises, even as history seems bound to repeat itself.
Checks in the area yesterday showed that the section of the gully that gave way in 2010 has remained untouched. Heavy shrubbery now masks the spot where the five fell to their deaths, but a flight of steps serves as a vivid reminder that there lies the remains of what used to be a home for the family of five.
"When the people dem wash weh every big shot come here and talk seh them a go repair it. From that time until now, see it deh. All now dem nuh do nothing to it. All of us here are under danger," said a furious Camelia Sealy, yesterday when a team of government officials went on a tour of the area.
The situation in the community has worsened over the past few days as a section of the retaining wall, which shoulders an apartment complex, has collapsed under the pressure. This latest case has heightened concerns of both residents and authorities who are fearing the worst.
"A right here so most of us use to get to our houses so what would happen if it break away in the heavy rain? Most of us would be marooned," reasoned 70-year-old Lloyd Johnson as he pointed to the breakaway section of a retaining wall.
"The hole in the gully is about five feet, six inches deep and nobody not doing anything. Is pure promise. We need somebody to come do something about it instead of promise," Johnson added.
His plea was backed up by a number of residents who turned out to lend their voices to the cry while threatening to take to the streets in the coming week if something is not done.
Akera Johnson, an expectant mother, said it was just on Sunday night that she and her family of eight had to get out of bed in the middle of the night to seek higher ground during the heavy rain. She said since the incident, the family members have not slept comfortably in their beds during heavy rains.
"Mi live right next door to the people dem weh wash weh. I have nowhere else to go and all now the gully stay di same. We living in fear, we cannot sleep. Sunday night a people have to come help me move out when it start rain and we cannot continue to live like this," she said.