November 13, 2009
Landslides taking Lowmans woman house

The Ministry of Housing is assuring a Lowmans Bay family that they will be relocated as soon as land becomes available on which a house can be built.{{more}}

This assurance came Wednesday from Housing Officer Saskia Scotland after months of concern by Deloris Audain, whose home was condemned by authorities after extensive damage by landslides.

Scotland explained that other Lowmans residents had been relocated to different spots in the same district since a land assessment determined that it was no longer safe for them to occupy the area.

“We can’t move people without finding lands and that is our biggest problem right now – finding alternative space. We promise that she would be relocated but we can’t say when exactly,” Scotland stated.

In August this year, Audain claimed that her house was baldy cracked after a night of torrential rainfall and that the Ministry of Housing and National Emergency Management Organistation (NEMO) had not been giving her any solid answers since the event.

Relating her story to SEARCHLIGHT, Audain said that she noticed that there was a large crack in her daughter’s bedroom the following morning, which then spiraled throughout the entire house. She noted that NEMO officials visited her house a week later and informed her that she had to leave because it was unsafe for her to live there and that her uninsured house would be condemned.

“They asked me If I had any place to live and I told them no, so they tell me to send my children by neighbours,” she stated.

Audain said she complied with NEMO’s orders but could not let her four children ages 18-24 and grandchildren ages five months to three years, continue to take up residence at other people’s home for much longer.

The unemployed woman, who had been living at her house for 18 years, said NEMO officials told her that if she found a house suitable for her family they would pay the rent until February next year.

However, Audain, who has since moved from her home temporary housing at Largo Heights, stated that no rent was paid for the month of October and she does not know what is going to happen.

“I ain’t working nowhere and all I am saying is my house is not insured and I looking for them to give me back something,” the worrying mother added.

Audain charged that ministry officials told her that other homeowners had already been located in the area but they could not tell her anything about her home.

“I don’t have any money save anywhere. This is all I have,” she said.

A visit by SEARCHLIGHT to Audain’s house confirmed several substantial cracks throughout the structure.

Meanwhile, Director of NEMO Howie Prince confirmed that NEMO agreed to pay rent for the family, but it was up until the end of the year.

“We cannot commit the government for anything beyond a financial year,” he said.

He added that when NEMO visited the house “there was no clear indication that the house was damaged by landslide or major earth movement”.

Prince noted that the other people in the area were relocated quickly because they were directly affected by either disaster situations, landslides or encroaching sea.

“I don’t like people trying to drag down NEMO’s name when we lend our helping hand… She did not even qualify for any assistance, based on our mandate, but it is out of kindness [that we acted],” Prince added.