Fallen coconut tree destroys San Fernando house

Braving sea spray and chilly winds, a San Fernando family has been sleeping under the ruins of their home which collapsed on Monday afternoon after a coconut tree fell on top of it.

Crab catcher Munnilal Nagoo, 29, his common-law wife Amanda Ramnat, also 29, and Ramnat's brother Justin Ramnath, 14, of Embaccadere, San Fernando escaped death when the tree fell around 5 pm on Monday. 

The family yesterday walked from Embaccadere to the Social Welfare office on Cipero Street hoping to get help but without their identification cards, an official told them they could offer no aid.

Recalling the tragedy, Ramnat, a multi-linguist, said she was sleeping inside the ply-board house when her brother-in-law Dave Nagoo shouted to her to get out of the house.

"He said the tree cracking and to run out now. If I didn't run out  I would have died in there," Ramnat said.

She added that Nagoo and a few neighbours tried to hold back the tree as it leaned towards the house by propping it with a piece of plank.

However, the plank splintered and the tree came crashing down.

Saying this was the third tragedy to hit them, Ramnat said last August, a fire destroyed their home. Six years before that her mother Nowmattie Ramnat-Ramphal was killed in a fire at Avocat Village, Fyzabad in 2011.

Ramnat-Ramphal, 39, was a Guyanese national who worked as a domestic worker and her death was deemed a murder but no one was ever arrested for the crime.

Since then things have been tough for us, Ramnath said.

She added, "We had to go around asking for help and we got a few pieces of ply and some galvanize. We had to get permission from the owner, who has a deed to comfort to get a grant to rebuild it. Now that the tree has fallen destroying the house again, we do not know where to go for help."

Nagoo, who earns his livelihood selling dasheen bush, catching crabs and selling fish, said he was frustrated.

"Just yesterday I went up in the dump and I got a door which I installed. We were working hard to earn a little money to fix the house. Now we have to start from scratch all over again," Nagoo said.

Saying they spent a cold chilly night sleeping under the slanted floorboards, Ramnat said they were disappointed because even though they worked hard to earn a living, tragedy always befell them. 

He called on corporate T&T to help them in rebuilding their home.

"If we could just get some material, we will build it ourselves," Nagoo said. He added that an official from the Social Welfare Office told him to apply for help but he could not do so because he did not have an identification card. 

Contacted yesterday, Minister of Social Development Cherrie-Ann Crichlow said her team will contact the family and offer some assistance. Anyone wanting to help the family can contact Ramnat at 354-7974 or 333-9561.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica De Silva)


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