Nowhere to call home: Jamaican senior citizen’s house destroyed by floodwaters

Nowhere to call home: Jamaican senior citizen’s house destroyed by floodwaters
Joseph Pounall

(JAMAICA STAR) — Clutching his black bag closely, Joseph Pounall lay on his back staring at the ceiling in a classroom that serves as an emergency shelter at St Benedict’s Primary School in St Andrew.

The 10 Miles, Bull Bay resident’s eyes appeared sad and weary as he explained how he had lost his home and all of his belongings on Sunday as heavy rains destroyed his property. Currently, the only thing to his name is the suit he is wearing, and the two pants and a parcel of rice that he stores in his black bag. He told THE STAR that he is hoping for a miracle in the form of receiving some assistance.

“The rain a fall and more time the place flood out, but Sunday a di most dangerous part and it just wreck di house and take away everything. Mi used to do driving work but all mi licence and all a mi documents dem get destroy. The only thing mi have left is this little bag. Mi nah give up enno, and mi hope mi get little help but if mi nuh get none, mi a go try get a work and help myself. But right now mi don’t know where to start,” he said.

The 74-year-old said he decided to go to the shelter yesterday after sleeping inside the Coronation Market on Monday night. He said he shared his two-room board dwelling with his two grandchildren, but sent them to stay with relatives in another community before Sunday’s torrential rains.

“Mi couldn’t keep dem with mi because mi granddaughter almost wash way one a di time and mi had to catch her. Mi lose mi phone in that incident but the phone a di least, mi just glad she okay. Mi daughter deh overseas but she nuh aware say mi at the shelter still because mi phone gone and mi nuh remember her number,” he said.

Pounall said he has been living in 10 miles for the past 18 years. Before that he had lived in east Kingston, but decided to build a permanent home in Bull Bay.

The senior citizen said it took him close to five years and approximately $400,000 to build his house, and it pained his heart to see his hard work ‘drowned’ shortly after the Chalky River broke its banks.

“Mi feel it but mi can’t do nutten about it. Everything wash way gone. It take one side a the house and take di other side too. The house no move gone but if little rain just dew it a go lift up and go way. Mi just need a next place to live,” he said.

Pounall is one of nine persons who have sought refuge at the shelter.


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