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September 23, 2014
Clare Valley woman loses home, but thankful for life

Dr Katisha Douglas, the owner of the house that collapsed last Friday afternoon, at the government housing development at Clare Valley, says that things are beginning to come together, following the harrowing incident that has left her and her young daughter homeless.

Douglas told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday {{more}}that she is beginning to accept and deal with the fact that she lost her home and possessions, but is still thankful for what is more important – her life.

“Things are working out little by little,” Douglas, a medical doctor by profession, said during a telephone interview on Monday.

“The promises that were made by the relevant authorities are being kept, and soon I would be relocated to somewhere more suitable.”

For the moment, Douglas and her child are staying at her parents’ home in Roseau, Sion Hill, where she is originally from.

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke to Douglas last Saturday, as she stood just metres from the once erect home, in which she had lived for 18 months, comforted by friends, relatives and well-wishers, who had come to see the extent of the damage that took place the day before.

According to Douglas, she was not at home at the time when the house collapsed, but was at her daughter’s school, waiting to pick her up from Brownie meeting.

“My neighbours called around four and 4:15, telling me they saw the house shifting, and I told them I was on my way…. Then, by the time I reach Campden Park is when I got the call from my neighbours, saying that the house collapsed.

“When I got to Campden Park, I gave a ride to a man who lives down in the village and I told him what was happening… as soon as I reached the brink of the hill, I saw it on the ground and a lot of people were there already, I couldn’t go any more, I was so shaken up; it was the man who had to drive the rest of the way….”

The homeowner told SEARCHLIGHT that as recently as two months ago, she had felt the three-bedroom house, which was built on columns, shake, and had reported the episode to the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC), who promised to investigate.

She said that she also noticed some faults in the structure.

“The weekend of the recent floods two weeks ago (September 6), I woke up the Sunday morning and saw a big crack in the porch column, so I went in to Housing to let them know and they said they would come and see it, and I went under the house and you could see little cracks and piece of the beam chipped away. So then, after that, when the rain came again night before (September 18) I was scared, because my neighbour even asked me how I sleep in that house, because people saw the crack.

“When I got up yesterday morning (September 19) to drop my daughter to school, I actually peeped on the crack to see if it had opened anymore, but I didn’t really see anything, and by the time four o’clock, I got the call. They say it started around two o’clock.”

Douglas said that although she had been promised a new home, she was sceptical as to if she would want to remain in the area.

She said that she was grateful for the assistance she has received so far, and for the support shown by the various organizations, friends and neighbours who have sustained her.

“I been through a lot in life; it’s just a home. I still have life. It could have been worse.”(JJ)