Tobago home-owners unfazed by property damage, thankful for life

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The roof of a house was damaged by Hurricane Beryl in Mt Grace on July 1. – Photo by Visual Styles

DESPITE damage to a few properties, people in Tobago are thanking God for spared lives following the passage of Hurricane Beryl on July 1.

Delaford resident Cletus John had minor damage to his Bay Road property after a tree fell on it after strong winds swept across the island.

He said: “I was here, and shortly after 8 am I realised that the winds started to pick up. I went out and I realised that the breadfruit tree started leaning towards the house. I came back inside and was about to lie down then I heard the bram.

“I expected more damage to the roof but then when I came out I only saw the trees against the edge of the roof and the guttering had been damaged. A few of the galvanise sheets would have to change and the guttering will have to do over, but for me, it was no major damage.”

He said he is thankful for life.

Workmen try to remove a concrete utility pole which fell across this road in L’anse Fourmi, Tobago on July 1. – Photo by Darren Bahaw

“Trust me when I say I am thankful.”

A relative who helped him remove the fallen tree and clean up the debris said the wind that uprooted the tree was “something else.”

He added, “I was just glad that no one was injured.”

A nearby homeowner was seen tying his partially damaged roof to the columns of his home with rope and cable wires. The homeowner said it could have been much worse.

“The activities weren’t that bad compared to what we were expecting but there was a high level of winds shortly after 8 am, and to me that was the danger zone. I was inside the house and I started to hear the roof moving. I did my best to salvage, but protecting of the life of my family who were inside was also my priority.”

He too said he was grateful for life.

“Tobago has been spared and we remain grateful. I am thankful that all lives were spared but honestly, I didn’t sleep all night as I really didn’t know what to expect. I am really grateful that it passed.”

Speyside resident Kester Jack said the community was on high alert.

“It wasn’t that bad, yuh know, but we prepared for almost anything. We done pull up we boats. The boys and them were on standby if any roof blow off we could give ah hand. Thank God everything just pass and blow over. We give thanks. No damage in Speyside that we could really talk about.”

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, who is the electoral representative for the area, said Delaford took the warning more seriously than other areas. He said just before midnight he visited the shelter at the Delaford multi-purpose facility and was surprised as there were already 27 registered residents.

“In fact, when I pushed the door thinking no one was inside as it was dark, I was pretty loud in entering only to realise that I was waking up people who were already wrapped up in blankets.”

He added: “But you have to understand that Delaford in 2004 experienced three deaths from landslides and from flood-related deaths. They know what it means to lose their entire property from flood, so they didn’t play for slips at all.”

Assistant Secretary in the THA Division of Settlements, Public Utilities and Rural Development Orlando Kerr, who lives in the area, was seen making checks in the area.

At Yorke Trace in Patience Hill, Newsday noticed that the roof of a home completely blown off. The home-owners were not at home when Newsday visited.

THA assistant secretary Nigel Taitt, who lives nearby, told Newsday: “I visited the family as soon as I heard of the incident, along with TEMA. An assessment is currently being done.”

CLEAN-UP: THA workers Darrien Duncan, left, and Winston Amoroso busy clearing away fallen trees from the Charlotteville Road in Tobago on July 1 after the passage of Hurricane Beryl. – Photo by Darren Bahaw