Red Cross blames poor roof construction for damage
November 26, 2010
Red Cross blames poor roof construction for damage

Red Cross officials have assessed that the havoc caused on the housing stock during the passage of Hurricane Tomas was due in part to the construction of the roofs of houses.{{more}}

This was relayed to the media during a press conference at Joachim and Associates conference room on Saturday, November 20.

President of Red Cross St. Vincent, Bernard Marksman, stated that after damage assessment was done, it was identified that the roofs of houses were not adequately built, which contributed to the destruction of many roofs during the passage of the storm.

“A category one hurricane has left so much of our houses without any of their roofs [it] says a lot…it says to us even though we have instituted business codes and instructions that we need to pay a lot more attention to how we construct our houses,” Marksman said.

He added that Vincentians need to adhere to building codes and take its operation to a higher level, especially in the reconstrution of houses in the afttermath of Tomas.

“It necessitates proper management assessments, it necessitates construction techniques, it necessitates having to have funding in order to do what is required of us,” Marksman said.

Emeline Decoray of the French Red Cross, and an expert on housing construction, explained that there are many house roofs that are built properly, but that poor construction is prevalent in the vulnerable areas of the country.

Decoray said that many houses in vulnerable areas have flat roofs, which are the worst roofs to have. She added that the best roof is the gable, at a high angle and short eaves.

Decoray,who is part of an assessment team, stated that the Red Cross has trained persons who can share their knowledge with the community members.

The assessment team included Johan Lunabba of the Finish Red Cross and Jocelyn Lance and Micheal Melain of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) as well as other personnel from both organizations.

Giving brief remarks, Lance stated that the main reason for the mission trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was to have a complete assessment done on the damage the island sustained as a result of Hurricane Tomas.

He added that ECHO has provided support to countries ravaged by Hurricane Tomas, including St. Lucia.

Lance said that a clear estimation will have to be done on the damage in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to ascertain ECHO’s next contribution. The Red Cross team also conducted training on disaster preparedness on the Windward and Leeward sides of the island.