Headline — 23 October 2015 — by Albert J. Ciego
5 houses crashed in storm

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 22, 2015–The owners of five houses which underwent either complete or partial collapse after not being able to withstand the onslaught of a low pressure system that passed over Belize over the weekend, are still struggling to regain some sense of normalcy in their lives and to pick up the pieces in the face of devastating loss.

In the case of Kendra Smith, one of these five homeowners, her house on Jane Usher Boulevard was partially damaged. The verandah of the house was torn off, there are no stairs, and the upper portion of the house is leaning forward, and appears ready to come crashing down at any moment. At about 2:30 Tuesday afternoon, Smith was washing under the house, when the verandah and stairs collapsed and the house leaned forward.

Smith said that no one was hurt and they made a makeshift stairs to access the house. Smith’s family, however, have nowhere else to go and are still living in the home despite the danger. The family urgently want stairs to be built so that they can access the house safely. Presently there is a makeshift stairway which is a major safety hazard. Kendra Smith said that the entire house needs to be replaced because it is a disaster waiting to happen. She is asking the Port Loyola area representative to provide assistance to the family.

Other individuals/families which have lost their homes as a result of the low pressure system are Liza Flowers and her family of Fabers Road; Earl Gentle and his family of Jasmine Street; Kayla Stevens of Neal Pen Road; and Woman Police Officer Stephanie Vasquez.

Stevens’ home on Neal Pen Road started to cave in at about 2:30 Saturday morning, while she and her daughters were sleeping. She reported that she and her 3 children were inside sleeping when she heard lumber on the house begin to crack and then the house crashed. She didn’t know that outside was already flooded. She grabbed her 4-year-old daughter and opened the door and they fell into the water that was waist-deep, which prompted her to scream out, she said. She began to swim to the next house with her baby in her arms and knocked on the neighbor’s house so that they could let them in. After leaving her 4-year-old at the neighbour’s house, she went back to the ruins of her home to get her other two children who were still inside the house, and took them out and took them to the safety of the neighbor’s house.

Stevens said that she didn’t know the extent of the damages to the house because it was dark. When she went to check her house after she awoke Sunday morning, she found the house had been destroyed and all her household furnishings and personal belongings had been destroyed.

She has since been trying to get help but she mentioned earlier this week in a television interview that she had only been assisted by Traveller’s Liquors Ltd.

Steven’s father told Amandala that she is in a predicament that might prevent her from receiving adequate assistance from her area representative. Her house is located in Port Loyola, but she is a voter in Collet. When she went to the Port Loyola area rep she was told that she could not be helped because she is a voter in the Collet constituency and when she went to get help from the personnel of her Collet area representative, she was told that she could not be helped because she lives in Port Loyola.

We’ve been informed, however, that a Good Samaritan from the south has promised to provide her with materials to rebuild her much-needed house.

This morning her dad along with her family members dismantled the wrecked house to make space for reconstruction of a home when the materials are brought by the Good Samaritan.

The family wants to say thanks in advance to the benefactor for his very valuable assistance and kindness.

Lisa-Flowers-crashed-houseLisa-Flowers-crashed-house

Another home that was destroyed by the flood was the house of Lisa Flowers, which collapsed at about 6:00 Saturday morning on Fabers Road. Flowers told Amandala that at about 6:00 Saturday morning, she was in the next house in the yard, when her boyfriend raised the alarm that the house was collapsing, and they saw when the house crashed. She said that the water level in the yard was high and it was raining. As a result all their belongings in the house were destroyed. No one was hurt.

She is still awaiting assistance.

A house on Jasmine Street belonging to the family of Earl Gentle, Sr. also crashed at about 10:30 Saturday night. The family members were all at home when the house collapsed. So far they have been assured that their house will be replaced by their area representative, and his opponent in the electoral race to represent the constituency has also pledged to provide them with a home.

The house in which Woman Police Constable Stephanie Vasquez was residing, located in the Boots Crescent area off Fabers Road, crashed at about 3:30 Monday afternoon. One person was in the house when it collapsed but he was not injured. However all the furnishings inside the house were damaged. Neighbors told Amandala that they are surprised that the house crashed.

The police officer recently began to live in the house about two months ago, and she was renting.

In a media brief on Monday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the city has been severely impacted by the storm and it is a disaster and an emergency. He said that everyone impacted by the storm will be helped as quickly as possible, no matter the cost.

However the help is coming slow, and for the devastated families, every minute feels like a lifetime.

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