Debe family homeless after house collapses

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Relatives of the Mohess family help remove items from their Ramai Trace, Debe, home after it collapsed over the weekend during heavy rains. – Lincoln Holder

The quick response by a relative and police saved a woman and her two adult children from severe injuries and even death as their home came crashing down during heavy rains early Monday.

Meera Mohess, 57, and her two adult daughters, Savera, 36, and Amelia, 21, became trapped at around 3 am when they lost their wooden home with all its contents.

Mohess said she got up to use the washroom and heard a cracking sound. Unsure what it was, she waked Savera and told her that “something was happening.”

Savera went to check and saw the centre post of the house had shifted. At the same time, the house started to crumble. Mohess’s other daughter was in a bedroom, pinned between two beds.

“Amelia was trapped between the beds. I was on the couch, and the steps were already gone. Somehow Amelia got her phone and called for help. Within ten minutes, Kevin (Ramkaran) and the police came. They burst the wall and got her out,” Mohess told Newsday on Monday.

“Kevin carried me on his back out of the house. We could have died if they did not respond in time. A lot of people came to help. Something hit me on my head, and it was bleeding. It is hurting a lot.”

Besides the police, two firetrucks and two ambulances also came.

Mohess works as a labourer, has diabetes, and is asthmatic. She said her family does not have any money to rebuild.

On Monday, friends and family were trying to salvage items from the ruins of the house. Representatives from the Penal Debe Regional Corporation also visited the family.

A police statement said the acting Commissioner of Police, McDonald Jacob, praised the selfless and heroic actions of the police saying they are worthy of commendation.

Savera Mohess outside her collapsed home at Ramai Trace Debe. The house came crashing down on top of Mohess and two of her relatives during bad weather on Monday. – Lincoln Holder

He urged all officers and other front-line responders to exercise safety and precaution as they respond to calls for help from members of the public affected by the ongoing bad weather conditions.

The statement added that a combination of pure physical strength, teamwork, and determination led to Southern Division’s Emergency Patrol Unit (SD-ERP) police and the relative rescuing the three women.

It said constables Meah and Ramlogan responded to the report of the three trapped inside the collapsed house.

On arrival, the rain was falling, and the place was dark.

Meah, Ramlogan and Ramkaran sprang into action.

Meah lifted the collapsed roof while Ramlogan and Ramkaran propped it up with pieces of wood. Meah pushed the wall and propped it with his body while Ramlogan and Ramkaran pulled the victim who was pinned between the bed and a wall, to safety. She had minor injuries to her leg.

The men also used a sledgehammer to destroy another wall to find Savera. She was not injured.

Meah and Ramkaran went to another side of the house and saw an electricity line lying on the roof.

They “cautiously broke through a wall” and crawled inside, finding Mohess bleeding from her head.

Ramkaran carried her on his back while Meah cleared a path through the debris, leading them to safety.

Fire and ambulance personnel arrived shortly and treated the three women.

Insp Saunders, W/Sgt Morgan and PC Meah revisited the family after daybreak.

The family expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the police.