Devastation at their doorstep - Families recount tales of Laura’s torment
Multiple landslides and a massive breakaway in Windsor Forest, St Thomas, have left hundreds of residents marooned, without electricity and Internet access.
Residents of Richmond, Bethel, Cedar Valley, and adjoining communities have also been impacted by the devastation.
As the outer bands of Tropical Storm Laura bore down on the island on Sunday, debris filled the roads and torrential rains scoured hillsides – with ominous signs that more showers could further compromise these communities.
Mounds of dirt from the moist hillside fell to the back of Lincoln Morgan’s home during the stormy ordeal. On Monday morning, mud was on his doorstep.
“If the rain continues, I’ll just have to do what I can to prevent further flooding and try keep out the mud and water from getting inside the house,” said Morgan.
“Let’s hope we don’t have any rain like yesterday into last night (Sunday).”
Morgan told The Gleaner that he recognised that water overflowed on to the property while it rained and had trekked uphill to clear a drain. But he later discovered it wasn’t blocked.
“To the amount a rain weh fall, eventually mi hear ‘Blum!’ and when me come out and look, mi see seh di shed tear down and di dirt deh pan it and a suh it wash dung,” he recounted.
“It’s devastating for the likkle time that rain fall and we nuh get storm yet. It was about a three or four hours’ worth a rain, but it fall really heavy and the lightning and the thunder – wow!” Doreen Laws recounted.
Jean Blair, a farmer, has lived in Windsor Forest for the past 30 years with her four children who are also cultivators.
“We have three house flood out. Like the water break the bank, come in, and we haffi lick out some a di block dem fi let out the water,” Blair said.
Blair said prior to the downpour, the signal in the community was spotty, but it is now non-existent.
“As often as we have rain, this is how it operates – branches come down and like landslide,” the woman said.
Blair added that she may not be able to go to Coronation Market come Friday if the roads are not cleared.
“Mi have grocery for now, but it might run out by weekend,” she said, adding that the only way out is by foot.
Carron Haynes told The Gleaner that she is prepared to use her lamps and candles, but having electricity supply reconnected is an urgent matter.
“We need back di light because we have fridge full a chicken and we nuh waah dem spoil,” Haynes said.
Another woman who identified herself as Sonia Morgan said that her daughter had to vacate the area early Monday morning to another community in order to work remotely.
“We have no idea when we will get back light because the road got cut off, and this needs a lot of work,” Morgan said.
Meanwhile, Alfred Duffus from Richmond Vale said that he is prepared to weather the storm.
Because of Richmond Vale’s vulnerability to landslides, Duffus disclosed that he had stocked up on extra food early into the Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1.
“It mash we up bad, bad, bad, but we’re giving thanks,” said Duffus.
“Only way out is on foot. Wi haffi walk wid machete and gwaan chop, chop way fi mek it,” Duffus said.