South Rivers residents receive house appliances
February 4, 2014

South Rivers residents receive house appliances

Following the distribution of basic household appliances to flood affected people on the leeward coast, it was the turn of the residents of South Rivers on the windward side of the island last Friday.{{more}}

Music blared from a nearby sound system as residents of the badly affected area known as Pasture and other areas within South Rivers waited patiently for the arrival of the officials – and more importantly the items to be distributed.

Each affected homeowner received a refrigerator, stove or mattress – or two or three of the items, made available through the private/public partnership.

The residents also received the complimentary cylinder of gas courtesy Rubis and for the first time since the replacement campaign began, Courts also donated a pillow to the recipients of the mattresses.

The response from the residents was overwhelming.

Martha Horne was the recipient of a brand new refrigerator.

She explained that the past few weeks had been hectic and that while she cannot complain about not receiving food items, she had been unable to save any of her appliances and had to rely solely on assistance from friends, family and the state.

“It was the first time I ever experienced anything like that,” she said.

Horne said she has since returned to the home which was devastated during the storm.

“We cleaned it out and have been living there,” she explained.

Horne further stated that she was informed that she may have to be relocated.

SEARCHLIGHT caught up with at least two victims we had interviewed in the immediate aftermath of the Christmas Eve tragedy.

Urica Williams – whose home was located on the riverbank was grateful for the assistance.

On Christmas Day 2013, Williams, her boyfriend and their two children were kept busy cleaning out the mud and mopping up the excess water that had flooded their home.

She thanked SEARCHLIGHT for bringing some attention to her situation.

“I am grateful for what I am collecting – fridge, stove and mattress,” Williams said.

She said that it was a start for her after the place she called home for the past 20 years was destroyed in a matter of hours, with all her personal belongings gone.

Conroy Arrington, another resident of Pasture said that life had slowly been returning to normal.

He received a mattress, but while he expressed his gratitude he said that he had a further problem.

He lost all his spray cans after they were washed away by the flood waters.

He said that he is a farmer and uses the spray cans to do other small chores in and around the community.

“Right now that is the ting dat holding me back,” he said.

Arrington said that he was appealing to the relevant authorities for some assistance in this regard.

But while many were grateful for whatever aid came their way, some residents were adamant that their names did not make it on the list.

Carmelitha Williams and Keith Matthias both told SEARCHLIGHT that their names were not included amongst the list of people to receive items.

Williams said that among the items lost were a mattress which belonged to her children and their stove; Matthias indicated that he lived in what he described as a small shanty and that he lost his two-burner stove and a gas bottle.

Matthias said that he has had to cook his food by fireside, or he would usually get some food from other residents as payment for doing errands for them.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Friday at South Rivers that some people had said to him that they were omitted from the list.

He explained that in some instances, the names may have been left out but that it was not intentional.

“And if they missed you out, give your name to a NEMO officer because I understand from time to time you can be missed,” Gonsalves said.

He said that what he did not want was for people to say that they lost items when they knew it was not true.

“If you want a stove or a fridge without them being damaged indicate that to me separately because I want to ensure that those who lost items get,” the Prime Minister said.

In the end, Williams and Matthias indicated that they had already gone ahead and put their names down to receive items that they had lost. (DD)