Charlotteville resident hopes to salvage home after landslides

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A house partially collapses in Top River, Charlotteville, Tobago, after heavy rains caused landslides in the area on December 19 – Tobago Emergency Management Agency

CHARLOTTEVILLE resident Jeff DeFreitas still hopes that his home can be salvaged after it suffered major damage from landslides and flooding during heavy rainfall in the Tobago village earlier this week.

On Tuesday, over 50 mm of rainfall caused chaos and damage to multiple homes in the rural community, with emergency responders spending hours trying to rescue several stranded Charlotteville families.

Additionally, landslides completely blocked the main road near the Turpin bend making rescue efforts more difficult.

On Thursday, DeFreitas told Newsday he was not at home when the damage occurred.

“I got a phone call that the rain was falling, and the house break away. When I went, I saw what happened. So I picked up some of my clothes and I went by my sister.”

He said, “The porch is what break away and part of the kitchen, because it dig out the concrete from underneath. And the water from the roof that come down in the sprouting come in the drain and overflow, undermined the wall and break everything underneath the house.”

He believed there was no need to condemn his home.

“The two bedrooms upstairs and the toilet and the bath is good. The living room is good. It is just the part by the porch and the kitchen is what damage.

“To fix it, you have to build back a retaining wall to the road and then you start to fix the house. It is just more to the front of the house that damage but not the whole complete house.”

DeFreitas said Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) officials had already visited and were in the process of doing assessments.

Augustine is the electoral representative for the area.

Contacted for an update, TEMA’s director Allan Stewart said clean-up work in the village was nearing completion.