Barbadians Trying To Cope Following Passage Of Elsa

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A damaged home in Barbados following the passage of Hurricane Elsa on July 2, 2021. (Barbados Today image)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mon. July 5, 2021, Barbados Today: Barbadians are continuing to pick up the pieces left behind by Hurricane Elsa.

Elsa, the first hurricane to hit the island in more than 65 years, left a trail of destruction in its wake following its brief visit on Friday.

When a team from Barbados TODAY visited residents in the north of the island Sunday morning, several of them were still pondering their next move.

One such man who resides in Mount Poyer, St Lucy, had his three-bedroom, two-bathroom wooden home completely destroyed.

The 63-year-old, who gave his name as Hartley, told the paper that he moved some of his belongings from the house into his wall workshop next door on Thursday in preparation for the weather system.

However, he admitted he was shocked and frightened by what he was faced with.

“The wind started to pick up and it pick down the house piece by piece and started to pelt it bout. I see a little action already but not like this one…” Hartley said.

He pointed to a large tree that used to be situated in front of his house, but had been uprooted by the raging winds and was now resting on its side.

“If the wind could do that to that tree you could imagine how cruel the wind had to be blowing. I’ve never seen wind like that before in my life,” he said.

He estimated the house would have to be rebuilt at a cost of close to $160, 000.

Despite the daunting task, he said while he would accept any assistance, he was not expecting Government to rebuild his house for him.

Hartley, who is a butcher by trade, also suffered further losses when sections of the roof of his pig and chicken pens were blown off.

And while he was counting his lucky stars that none of the animals were harmed, he estimated that damage to be in the region of $15, 000.

Further east in River Bay, Jermaine Johnson was busy repairing his roof with the assistance of his friend Haydn Knight and another man.

Johnson, who lives with his wife and two children, told Barbados TODAY he was so terrified when the roof began to flap he began to cry.

“I have never witnessed anything like that in my life. It actually brought tears to my eyes. You know what it is to be in a house with your wife and two children and the roof in the front part of your house just going up and down?

“Luckily for us it just lift up, but any longer and we would have been left without a roof,” said Johnson, who used a tarpaulin and some bricks to secure the roof until it could be repaired.

Over in Whitehill, St Andrew, David Holder was watching on as workmen installed a new roof on his home, which sustained significant damage by Elsa.

Holder, who lives with his son, told Barbados TODAY they were forced to evacuate the house and seek refuge in his son’s car after the roof was completely torn off.

He said personal items including two television sets, two wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and beds were destroyed.

“Me and my son were inside and we saw the roof lift up three times and drop down, but the final time it just lift off. After that we went into the garage and stayed in the car,” Holder recalled.

He pointed out that he was in the process of renovating his home and had actually ordered the material to reconstruct the roof two weeks ago.

Holder said the tragedy might have been avoided had that material been delivered on time.

“I ordered and paid for $7000 in material two weeks ago because I was doing some work on the house but it only came yesterday. If it had been brought on time maybe this would not have happened,” he said.

Meanwhile, as of midday on Sunday, the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P) had restored 70 per cent of the island’s electricity, but warned that there was still “a long way to go”.

Manager of Communications at the BL& P Jackie Marshall-Clarke said restoration efforts are continuing.

She said in addition to those restored on Saturday in all parishes, repairs were completed to the company’s Hampton, St Philip substation, which sustained damage during Hurricane Elsa on Friday.