Berbice father recounts terror felt during ‘freak storm’


Days after a ‘freak storm’ ravaged some 20 buildings at Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice (WCB), a father of three has recounted the sheer fright experienced as his rooftop and ceiling came crashing down in his sons’ bedroom.

Shilendra Singh told the News Room on Monday that he and his family (his wife and three sons) were sleeping in their bedrooms on Friday night when he heard a loud explosion outside just before 22:00hrs.

Soon after, there was a torrential downpour coupled with heavy winds.

Shilendra Singh (centre), his wife and three sons

Within minutes, Singh said that the zinc sheets atop his house were torn off by the heavy winds. With the zinc sheets gone, and as the downpour continued, the ceiling then came crashing down.

“I try to save the children ‘cause the ceiling and so start to come down.

“I grab the small one and try to shelter the other two,” Singh recalled.

In continued danger of falling materials, the family ventured to the lower flat seeking shelter until the storm subsided.

Even then though, Singh said that they were still in danger as the area was becoming flooded and fallen electrical poles and wires placed them at risk of electrocution.

Fortunately, a neighbour allowed the family to seek refuge in his house which had not been severely damaged.

And it was then that Singh called the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to report the situation.

“The lady (the GPL operator) thought we were making a prank call,” Singh recounted, relating that it took several hours before a maintenance team visited the community.

Nevertheless, the family like all other residents escaped unharmed. Singh said, however, that the family has not been able to sleep comfortably in their home because their roof still needs repairs and also because they are also terrified of a recurrence.

In an assessment report, the Civil Defence Commission said that 1.2 miles of property were affected along a straight path heading northeast to southwest. In that locale, 20 properties recorded damages.

When the News Room visited the area on Saturday, many residents were attempting to salvage parts of their houses. In the aftermath of the storm, 26-year-old Gomattie Pariag, a resident, was among those who said that she is still trying to regain her composure after such an experience.

Some of the damages at a building in Bath Settlement, WCB (CDC photo)

Because of the damage faced, the CDC said that a quantity of food and cleaning hampers have been delivered to the Region Five Regional Democratic Council; those are being distributed to residents of Bath Settlement.

The Hydrometeorological Office of the Ministry of Agriculture, has advised all residents countrywide to prepare for consistent rainfall as the rainy season is in full effect. Between 30mm (1.1 inches) and 70mm (2.7 inches) of rainfall is expected over the next twenty-four (24) hours.

People are urged to contact their local authorities if they are impacted in any way or the National Emergency Monitoring System (NEMS) ON 600-7500 or 226-1114 at any time.

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