Flood waters destroy two-bedroom house; St Mary family begs for help

Observer staff reporter

Monday, February 05, 2018

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A St Mary family is appealing for help after their two-bedroom board house was destroyed during heavy rains last December.

The family of four was asleep in their Heywood Hall, St Mary home when a crashing sound woke them. It was at that time that they realised that a section of their house was swept away after a tributary of the Paget River, which was behind the house, overflowed its banks. They began to assemble what they could, but soon after the remaining structure collapsed.

“About 2 o'clock in di [morning] I hear my daughter bawl out. She seh 'mummy mummy look outside di door!' When I look out di door, di land is sliding away and her room going down in the river. We try to get out some of the things out of the house and we went out there inna di rain and bawl out for help. People try to help us get some of the things out of the house, but then it drop dung too,” Carmelita Howell told the Jamaica Observer North & East.

“Mi save mi bed and mi fridge and me gas stove and some clothes and pots. My sister and a guy who go to the Seventh - Day Adventist Church come and help us too. And we stay in the church for over two weeks,” the woman added, noting that her daughter had not been to school in over two weeks.

Since that time, the 49-year-old mother and her three children have been living in discomfort.

After community members learnt about her ordeal, Howell said that they, along with the National Insurance Scheme and Councillor Mitsy Hudson, assisted her. She was given basic necessities and material to rebuild a house; however, thieves stole the material, causing a major setback for the family.

Because of that, Howell now shares a one-room makeshift structure with her daughter and two sons.

“It homely, but we don't have privacy in di house because di children dem is there. The boy children dem in there. The likkle girl, sometime when she fi change her clothes she cannot change it. We have to send the boys dem from out di house fi she get to change her clothes.

“We don't have no water as yet, too, because we don't have any money to put on the water and same fi di light, because we just setback a lot. Sometimes we buy di kerosene oil put in di lamp and sometimes we use candle. We have to bathe by the river,” she explained.

Howell is unable to help her family because her financial situation has remained the same as she suffers from arthritis in her spine and is therefore unable to work.

“Any likkle ting weh di children dem go out and work and carry come, me affi just tek it and buy likkle food. Sometime we cannot buy food 'cause a how di money set. When mi daughter fi go school, me don't got it fi send her.

“Me would a like some material to help put we back on we feet again. We nuh have nuh facility to bathe and suh. So we want likkle help so dat we would put on back the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen so we can have likkle comfort in we house and my daughter can go to school more often. And we can get fi siddung and watch di television. We want to watch di news and what going on so we don't have to run up and down to the shop. If mi buy one likkle piece a chicken or such a like, me can put down one likkle piece dat me can use one next day. I cannot work, so I have to try and save back something so I can get to cook,” Howell said.

She also shared that she is also deeply concerned about her 27-year-old son who is mentally ill. He is currently off his medication because of lack of funds and is unable to work. She is appealing to the public for assistance to help get her life back on track.

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