I thought I was go­ing to die

Woman who lost home to Hur­ri­cane Dean re­calls or­deal

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page - CE­CELIA CAMPBELLLI­VINGSTON STAR Writer

Port­land Cot­tage shel­ter man­ager Inez Wil­liams will never for­get the rav­ages of Hur­ri­cane Dean in 2007.

While man­ning her shel­ter sta­tion at the Port­land Cot­tage Pri­mary School, where her fam­ily also took refuge, she re­calls vividly the ‘sur­prise’ that awaited her fol­low­ing the storm’s fury.

“Let me tell you some­thing. I will never for­get the day af­ter the hur­ri­cane passed. My hus­band went back to our house and there was noth­ing,” she said.

What was worse, she said, was that when she got the phone call, she could not leave as she was on duty at the shel­ter. She could only lis­ten as he re­lated the bad news that her fur­ni­ture and other stuff were gone.

Thank­fully, she said neigh­bours and friends as­sisted in ‘tack­ing up’ a sec­tion of the struc­ture, which was orig­i­nally erected by Food For the Poor.

“I thought I was go­ing to die. You know when you have your stuff and ev­ery­thing mash up and you are not in a po­si­tion to re­place them,” she re­called.

She said she re­mained at the shel­ter tak­ing care of oth­ers who were in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion as she was.

Even while she served and en­cour­aged oth­ers, she said her mind was fran­ti­cally try­ing to find a so­lu­tion to her own prob­lems.

EN­COUR­AGE­MENT

“I had to still en­cour­age them as if I wasn’t go­ing through hell my­self. Know­ing that they were in the same po­si­tion, I had to pre­tend as if all was well with me as I en­cour­aged and con­soled them,” she shared.

She stayed un­til as­sis­tance came from char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions, which brought in food items, cloth­ing, and other much-needed stuff.

Wil­liams is also thank­ful to Food For the Food for re­build­ing her de­mol­ished struc­ture.

Now into the 2020 At­lantic Hur­ri­cane Sea­son, Wil­liams says that she thinks about what can go wrong, or that should another one hit, she could be in the same sit­u­a­tion once more.

But she ad­mits to “hav­ing more strength on the in­side than the out­side”.

“I don’t let it bother me. I am here still en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents in the com­mu­nity to utilise the shel­ters if it ever be­comes nec­es­sary,” she said.

FILE

Hur­ri­cane Dean left much de­struc­tion in Port­land Cot­tage.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Inez Wil­liams

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