AN elderly woman narroly escaped death when a tree fell on her home, lucky she only sustained two broken legs.
A tree fell on a house in Laventille on June 23rd 2014, almost taking the life of the 67 year old grandmother who was asleep in her bedroom at Picton Road Laventille, Trinidad W.I. when the incident occurred.
According to one resident who spoke to GPTT, some time prior to the tree falling, some concerned residents went to the Authorities/The Regional Cooperation with the complaint that a 100 year old tree was above their homes which they believe is a threat. They said they heard it cracking and believed it might fall at any time.
One resident said the authorities took the information and promised action but non was taken. Approximately two weeks before the tree fell; another resident who lived in the house directly below the tree took his family and found refuge at close relative’s house fearing for their lives.
According to residents, parts of the tree would fall on his home from time to time and he knew it was a matter of time before the entire tree fell onto his house.
But other neighbors decided to stay in their homes.
About two weeks after the father moved, the expected happened.
“It was about 1 o’clock in the morning in the still of the night when i jumped out of my sleep and heard a loud crashing sound, I was alerted and jumped out of my bed, looked out the road only to see a large space where the tree was. I heard screams and cries, so I followed cries and ran across to see what had happened,” said a resident.
“When I realized what it was, a couple of us risked our lives with barely any light and tried our best to get to the aid whoever was in distress. It was virtually in-passable, as the fallen tree had blocked the track which leads to the house; we all came together and eventually found a way to get to the cries for help.
When we finally got in, we were amazed to see the large branch which had pinned Agatha James to her bed,” Agatha is the 67 year old grandmother who’s legs were broken as a result of this incedent.
With the combined help of neighbors, they lifted the branch and got her out. She was subsequently taken to the Port Of Spain General Hospital where she received treatment for “Two Broken Legs”.
According to a local news report.
“Samuel Callender, said he stopped sleeping at his Picton Road home about two weeks prior to the incident, after he heard the tree cracking, he warned his neighbours that the tree was showing signs that it was no longer sturdy. He said since 2010 one of its branches fell during the night and destroyed half of his house. He subsequently rebuilt with the aid of Self Help Since hearing the cracking recently, he became more cautious and decided to sleep at his in-law’s house only returning in daylight for whatever he needed.
Callender said he had made several attempts to get the tree cut down but each time he was told that there was no equipment to do so. He lamented that there would be equipment now to remove the tree. Estimating the loss he suffered to be $100,000, he said he would now have to move into his mother-in-law’s home until better could be done.”
There is another tree located on the opposite side of where this incident occurred, which could prove to have worse damage as there are four houses, which are in direct danger if this tree were to fall due to the land being unstable.
Around November 2012 there was a landslide, which partially damaged one house and destroyed the back of another. One resident and her children were relocated while the others remained. But according to residents, that was not the first time the hillside came crashing down damaging houses below.
One resident stated that she had been living there over 50 plus years and there have been countless slides, which damaged/affected (4) four particular houses. She stated that Self-Help provided them with material to rebuild a retaining wall a couple years ago but this call eventually fell once again. Other residents built several walls some of which keep falling over the years due to the changing landscape due to land erosion during the rainy season.
Concerned for her family’s safety one grandmother took her complaint to NIDCO/ Ministry of the Environment and Water Recourses Drainage Division. They stepped in and conducted their own investigations and found the land to be unstable due to undermining water, which had built up in the land over the years and advised that individuals in the affected homes be relocated immediately.
Click the links to see the letters sent…
This was since April 2013 and the families which consist of mostly employed single mothers, employed grand parents and school children remain there to date. Some resident are asking for another retaining wall while others want relocation.
According to Speak Out TnT there are stretches of unoccupied Housing Development Cooperation (HDC) houses in several districts that have been there for years and are just rotting away. Speak Out TnT complained that rather than HDC and current Government distribute the houses, which were built by the previous Administration, the houses remain there vacant while there are many working class individuals who are willing to pay their mortgage to attain homes.
Click the link for this article from Speak Out TnT: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.664267230326740.1073741847.441380062615459&type=1