Sat | Nov 28, 2020

More devastation in Shooters Hill

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:21 AMJonielle Daley/Gleaner Writer
Everald Gayle, a resident of Shooters Hill, St Andrew, recounts on Monday how weekend flooding and landslides sent mud, rocks and other debris crashing into his house, almost filling it to the ceiling.
Everald Gayle, a resident of Shooters Hill, St Andrew, recounts on Monday how weekend flooding and landslides sent mud, rocks and other debris crashing into his house, almost filling it to the ceiling.
A house teeters on the edge after land slippages threatened the lives and livelihoods of families in Shooters Hill.
A house teeters on the edge after land slippages threatened the lives and livelihoods of families in Shooters Hill.
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Everald Gayle slept fretfully at his neighbour’s house on Saturday night worried that the howling wind and stinging rain would test the strength of his humble home in Shooters Hill.

When he returned on Sunday evening, his fears were validated, as the house was filled almost to the ceiling with mud, rocks, and other debris.

The torrents triggered a landslide that sent a boulder tumbling, demolishing the wall at the back of the house.

“... It gradually shub the wall so till it just come right through,” he said. “It was my lucky night fi it didn’t come down when I was sleeping in there.”

After opening the door, Gayle’s roof collapsed and another landslide smashed the front of his house.

His neighbour, Denique Groves, said she witnessed the incident while keeping watch over her own home.

By 7 o’clock the next morning, Groves and her sister, Norisa, assisted in the rescue effort for Dawn Allen-Grant and her husband, Norman Grant, who were helped through a window when their house was uprooted by another landslide.

Allen-Grant, who is hard of hearing, praises God that her husband woke up in time.

“Mi inna me sleep and mi husband wake me up and say di house a tear down, but him did move the things dem already, so mi nuh really lose nothing,” she told The Gleaner.

“The whole a di house bruk down. It bruk right out to dirt.”

On Monday morning, Salome Millwood-Mitchell and her family of four loaded furniture into a truck, frustrated into evacuating after three days of rains and mudslides.

While inspecting the damage, Sergeant Wickham Campbell, member of the community safety and security team from the Kingston Eastern Police Division, said they will be assisting residents in rebuilding and recovering from the trauma.

Lives lost

The St Andrew East Rural consituency suffered immensely from the raking fury of Tropical Storm Zeta, with a landslide claiming the lives of 15-year-old Sanique Leechman and her 42-year-old father, Romeo Leechman.

Meanwhile, residents of Weise Road, Bull Bay, have been hit by flooding since Saturday after the Chalky River breached its banks because of a build-up of silt.

Armed with a shovel, Alfred Johnson worked tirelessly around 1 a.m. Monday trying to redirect water away from his house.

“We had to change the water channel so it don’t come over on our premises. We have to let it stay on the road when the silt coming back this side,” said Johnson.

Celia James, councillor for the Bull Bay division, forecast that clean-up of the silted riverbed would be completed by Wednesday.

James is hopeful that more residents take refuge at St Benedict’s Primary School, a shelter in Seven Miles.

“Last night, it was open the whole night and nobody turned up, so I told them that this evening (Monday), it will open again for them to go, and they said ‘yes’, they are willing to go, and we are sorting out the tractor to get the debris moved,” she said.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com