Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Portland Jamaica Rising from the rubble

Devon Richards attempts to salvage items from what was his house in Sandshore, Manchioneal. - Ricardo Makyn photo
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by Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator | The Gleaner | 31 October 2012
Portlanders struggle to recover after hurricane
Hurricane Sandy reduced the community of Manchioneal in Portland almost to rubble. A week later, tears still stained the faces of many of the residents who were in disbelief that in such hard times, fate would be so cruel.
They have been hit hard by several natural disasters over the years, but many agreed that last Wednesday's Category One hurricane, which they admit to underestimating, was the worst.
"Gilbert couldn't compare. Sandy a di boss. Who fi move, she just move. She just come without warning and siddung pon we fi 'bout six hours and tear down everything flat," 43-year-old Donovan Marriott told The Gleaner.
The seaside community of Sandshore in Manchioneal was a picture of disaster. Some residents didn't know where or how to begin putting their lives back together.
Devon Richards, his common-law-wife, Donna Withworth, and her five children have nothing left but the foundation on which their three-bedroom house once stood and whatever few belongings Sandy was gracious enough to leave behind.
"This one worse than the others, believe you me," said Withworth.
Richards said last Wednesday afternoon, they were inside the house when the hurricane made landfall. Suddenly, the house began to vibrate violently.
"Me neva like how it feel, so mi seh to har, 'Come go over next door'. 'Bout 15 minutes after we leave, mi look out and see the house flat and everything a blow wey," he said.
They tried to save their furniture and belongings, but everything was destroyed and several items, including pieces of the board and zinc house, were blown away.
Withworth's children are now taking refuge with their grandfather, while herself and her partner 'kotch' in a board structure on their premises, pondering how to rebuild.
"Manchioneal was devastated. There was so much wind, things were flying like kite. People were running to other people house in the hurricane after their roof blow off," said 68-year-old Elaine Burnett.
"Gilbert was bad, but it wasn't as bad as Sandy. Gilbert came with the sea, but Sandy came for house and housetop. Sandy took your zinc and anything else and carry it miles away."
Burnett was forced to seek refuge with a neighbour after her roof was blown off.
"When I came back and look at my house, I had to cry," she said.

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