Grandma wishes for an outside toilet after Hurricane Beryl damage

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Although residents of Rocky Point in Clarendon South Eastern suffered devastation and losses with the passage of Hurricane Beryl on July 3, they are grateful for their lives and those of families and neighbours.

When JIS News arrived at the Rocky Point Community Centre on July 6, which is still an active shelter for those who lost their homes, the team met fisherman Dwight Farquharson.

The father of three detailed how his livelihood has been affected by the loss of his fishing equipment. 

“The house tear down, my TV, fan and bed were destroyed. Mi fishing pot dem gone… over $200,000 spent on fishing pots and rigs and I would really like to get them back. My business was destroyed… but I still have life, and that is the greatest thing,” he said.

Farquharson is one of more than 200 residents in Rocky Point who have been displaced by the hurricane. Dasilva Coleman, who is familiar with the destruction of hurricanes, having lost her roof to Hurricane Dean in 2007, now faces damage to her bathroom.

“This time the roof held up, because I had put it back on, so no zinc flew off or anything… it’s only my outside toilet that is gone now. As a grandmother, I would really like an outside toilet; that is my wish,” she said.

During the hurricane, just over 70 persons utilised the shelter in the community. Currently, the shelter is empty.

Damage done to the farm of Ardenlee Clarke of Rocky Point, in Clarendon South Eastern, by Hurricane Beryl. (Photo: JIS)

Seventy-two-year-old George Harrison, who originally hails from Manchester, was one of the community members who had to abandon his home and all his belongings during the hurricane.

“I am not doing so bad now and I have to give thanks, but it has been a rough time for me because when the rain came in the night, it was God that made sure I wasn’t sleeping, because if I was, the house would have covered me up. By the time I ran outside to get to the centre, the house was right behind me,” he said.

“I have to give God thanks that I wasn’t crippled and I could move, else I would have been dead. When I saw the house, I said give thanks and praises, it’s only the house that is gone and I am not,” he added.

Registered farmer with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Ardenlee Clarke, who shared videos of his farm before the hurricane, has to start from scratch, as all his banana plants were blown down and his farm saturated with water.

“I’ve lost a lot of things – breadfruit trees and coconut trees were all torn down. All of my banana and plantain farm is flat. About 1,000 banana trees and plantain trees are gone and my fowl coop blew away. I am grateful, though, that I am still alive and I slept well and didn’t get wet,” he said.

Labour and Social Security Minister and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South Eastern Pearnel Charles Jr (left), and Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right), meet with residents of Rocky Point in Clarendon, at the Rocky Point Community Centre, on Saturday, July 6. (Photo: JIS)

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Disaster Risk Management Coordinator for the parish, Norval Gayle, said that although damage assessments are ongoing, care packages have been distributed to residents in the area.

“As it relates to the persons in the shelter, we ensured to take down their names. For example, some persons are parents and we have to consider back-to-school and all of that, so we did an assessment and wrote it down so that persons would have been identified based on their needs,” he said.

Gayle also briefed Minister of Labour and Social Security and Member of Parliament for the area, Pearnel Charles Jr, during a tour of damaged sections of the parish with Prime Minister Andrew Holness on July 6.