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Fearing another storm

Maria Bradshaw

Fearing another storm

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With?the start tomorrow of the hurricane season and predictions of an active one, Wendy Alleyne is living in fear.
The memories are still fresh of Tropical Storm Tomas that battered Barbados, destroying or damaging hundreds of homes in 2010, hers included.
Alleyne is still living in the wooden house at Phillips Road, Cleavers Hill, St Joseph.
She is hoping and praying that Government comes through to offer her assistance in relocating because she knows that her home would not stand up to another strong weather system.
A sheet of plywood is still nailed across the front which collapsed during the storm and Alleyne pointed out that what was once her daughter’s bedroom is now out of bounds.
“A section of the floor in that room has caved in and the ceiling is so bad that rain comes in,” she explained. “I?have to put a lot of buckets in here when it rains to catch the water.”
As she spoke, Alleyne tiptoed into the room and held up the floor covering to reveal the damaged floor.
The other bedroom is only a little better even though the floor is damaged. A few plastic bags are stuffed into the spaces in the ceiling but the rain still comes in.
Alleyne said that she was promised a new house by the Rural Development Commission (RDC).
“They came out here and examined the house and said it was infested with wood ants and could not be repaired and that I would be relocated to Douglin Road, St Andrew, because the land out here is slipping.”
Alleyne said she was even taken to St Andrew last month by her present landlord and shown the spot.
“I contacted the Rural Development Commission last week and the officer told me that Rural did not have any money so they could not tell me how soon they would be able to build the house for me.”
But fear has set in for Alleyne who has living at Cleavers Hill for the past ten years.
“When Tomas came I?was frightened,”?she said. “I heard this loud crash and the front of the house collapsed. I had to grab my daughter, who was only three, and run through the rain to my next-door neighbour. Right now I?would like to move out of here but if a storm come I?would have to go to a shelter or go by a relative but there is no way that I?can stay here.”
When contacted, Wendy Burke, public relations officer at the RDC, confirmed that Alleyne had applied to their office for assistance but pointed out that her application was submitted last year, two years after the storm.
“She was not in the pool of individuals who initially applied under the Tomas programme in 2010,” Burke said. “Her application came to us in June 2012. Given that she was not assessed at the time of the storm, she would not have been in line to benefit from the funds which financed the work the commission carried out for the Tomas victims.”
Burke added that Alleyne’s case would be dealt with.
“The commission’s mandate is to improve the lives of the residents of rural Barbados and all cases which come to our attention are handled on merit and without any level of discrimination and Miss Alleyne’s case will be dealt with accordingly,” she said.