Empresario Giancarlo Pietri Velutini//
‘We’re lucky to be alive’

Twen­ty-one homes – one of which was de­stroyed – and a pri­ma­ry school were dam­aged dur­ing a freak storm in Gas­par­il­lo on Thurs­day.

The Bonne Aven­ture Pres­by­ter­ian Pri­ma­ry School re­mained closed on Fri­day while arrange­ments were be­ing made to re­pair the toi­let roof which was torn off be­cause of the strong winds.

Yes­ter­day fam­i­lies spent the day try­ing to source ma­te­r­i­al and help to re­pair their homes. There have been no re­ports of any­one suf­fer­ing in­jury.

Thank­ing his lucky stars to be alive, Sharzam Mo­hammed, 58, said he and his wife were at their neigh­bour’s house help­ing them pre­pare for their daugh­ter’s birth­day par­ty.

Mo­hammed, of Al­ladin Trace, Bonne Aven­ture, re­called see­ing his house ripped apart by strong winds.

“The whole house de­stroy. I could not do noth­ing. I just had to watch it hap­pen. If we were there they would be plan­ning fu­ner­al all now,” he said.

Mo­hammed’s neigh­bour, Hema Sa­hadeo’s house, was not spared ei­ther. She re­called that they were cook­ing when heavy rain and gusty winds start­ed.

Part of her gallery broke off, the roof over the gallery and a few sheets of gal­vanise over the rest of her home were al­so blown off. De­scrib­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence as fright­en­ing, she said, “Every­thing went up. It was a to­tal mess.”

She said they had no choice but to can­cel her daugh­ter’s birth­day par­ty. The child turned six.

“Al­though it (in­side the house) was wet we still had to sleep there,” she said. Mo­hammed and his di­a­bet­ic wife al­so spent the night by Sa­hadeo. Mo­hammed who works for a gar­den­er said his in­come is very small. But, for the past two years, he has been build­ing his new home which is al­most com­plete. He asked for any as­sis­tance to fin­ish his home so he could move in­to it or help to re­build his one-room wood­en struc­ture which was de­stroyed.

An­oth­er res­i­dent Ma­hase Ram­sumair of Bonne Aven­ture Main Road, said the en­tire roof cov­er­ing his kitchen, a 24 by 28 area, was ripped off and land­ed on the side of his neigh­bour’s house.

All his ap­pli­ances, cup­boards and fur­ni­ture were soaked.

He said the rain on­ly fell for about 10 to 15 min­utes but it was heavy and the winds were very strong.

“It was re­al de­struc­tion in this area. Every­body house get a lil some­thing. A man­go tree fall, a co­conut tree fall. The neigh­bour to the back of me, his house mash-up.” Some of the oth­er af­fect­ed ar­eas were Caratal Road, Ja­hoor Ramjohn Ave, Per­ry Trace, Light Borne Road, Cot­ton Hill Road and Co­coa Piece Road.

Gas­par­il­lo/Bonne Aven­ture coun­cil­lor Safraz Ali of the Cou­va-Tabaquite-Tal­paro Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion vis­it­ed the res­i­dents to­geth­er with the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Team. They dis­trib­uted mat­tress­es and ham­pers.

Ali said they have sub­mit­ted the claims to the Na­tion­al Self Help Com­mis­sion and he is hop­ing that the process will be ex­pe­dit­ed to bring some re­lief to the res­i­dents.

Giancarlo Pietri Velutini

He al­so said the Gas­par­il­lo Cham­ber of Com­merce and hard­ware own­ers have al­so in­di­cat­ed their will­ing­ness to as­sist the res­i­dents in what­ev­er way pos­si­ble