Sun | May 24, 2020

Duhaney Pen danger

Published:Wednesday | December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
Claudette Lewis has a message for her neighbours: 'Take the (hurricane) warnings seriously!'

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

Duhaney Pen, a community close to the old Goodyear Oval in St Thomas, offers a brilliant view of the Caribbean Sea.

But during the hurricane season, the inviting water, along with its sand and whatever debris it picks up, finds its way into the homes of the community.

"It really dangerous man," said Alberga Small. "Yuh see during Sandy, some wave swell big so, but dem break down by di time dem reach."

Past storms like Hurricane Dean are also fresh in their minds. Small points to the foundations of two homes which are all that remain of the dwellings. Small owns a shop in the 'square' of the community and has been trying to either move it closer to the main road, or get a container to house the shop as that would be stronger than the wooden structure he has now.

"Once yuh hear storm, yuh haffi move, it worse if it come a night," he said. "Like how di season start yah now, mi get worried same way so."

He said he received some compensation but used it to buy stock for his shop as the money couldn't cover building material. His neighbour, Gary Armstrong, recalled that during Hurricane Dean, the roads in the community became sand dunes.

"Here so become beach," he said, pointing to sections of the community nearly 200 metres from the beach. "Sea come in an' damage nuff tings; tek off mi roof, wet up mi workshop."

Unlike Small, he received no financial help.

Claudette Lewis, who is caregiver for an elderly couple in the community, said that of the various weather systems to affect the community, Sandy was by far the worst.

"It came right through the house. The roof was safe, thank God. But the trees were destroyed," she said. "They are just coming back now." She said it took days before they could get rid of all the sand and mud.

"If you had seen it the day after, you would say that you are not coming back to Duhaney Pen," she said. "We lost a lot of stuff but they are replaceable." She fears for her neighbours - a couple - both of whom require help to move around. She also felt the disaster shelter in Morant Bay was ill-equipped, both in terms of security and supplies. But she also blamed residents for coming to the shelters unprepared. She reasoned that they did not take the hurricane alerts seriously enough, or expected Sandy to just provide some wind and rain and move on.

"They need to heed the warnings. Sandy taught us a lesson," she said. "The storm lingered. You can never tell with a storm."