The storm that ripped through the Region Seven community of Kako on Friday night completely destroyed six homes and has left residents in great fear of a recurrence.
As a result of the storm, the primary school there will not be opened for the new school term today since the building suffered some damage.
Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford confirmed that some 16 houses were affected by the storm, with six being completely destroyed, four had their roofs removed and the other six suffered various damage from the heavy winds and rain.
Bradford said the Kako Primary School suffered severe water damage and records and books that were kept at the school were soaked.
“…As a result of that we definitely won’t be able to open the school tomorrow,” Bradford said, while pointing out that the residents are also fearful about the Waramadong Secondary School being opened today since there has been an increase in strong winds and thunderstorms around the area lately.
“This thing seems to be a recurring one. Every afternoon, around 2 pm, residents report these high winds and thunderstorms affecting them. Persons are afraid to travel in canoes because they are afraid of something happening,” he said, while adding that persons are also leery of being outside and also staying inside since 16 buildings have been damaged so far.
“We have to go in and see what intervention has to be done but we have to start working on the school immediately and seek assistance from central government and the CDC [Civil Defence Commission] and see how best we can intervene and bring relief to the residents,” he said.
Bradford added that a team is currently in the area doing an assessment and is working along with the Toshao of the Cuyuni/Mazaruni village and the council to ensure that whenever the government and other stakeholders decide to act, they are acting on full information. “We don’t want to make an intervention without the right information,” he said.
While no one was injured, Bradford said that one of the main focuses when the rebuilding starts is to ensure that homes and other structures are built to withstand strong winds and heavy rainfall in the event that another freak storm occurs.
Last month, the Region 7 Community of Jawalla was also hit by a freak storm that ripped through some 33 houses and caused the death of 29-year-old Marsha Jordan, a seven-month pregnant mother of two.
Bradford along with a team comprising newly-appointed Minister of Public Affairs, Dawn Hastings-Williams; Junior Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud; representatives from the Civil Defence Commission and the Regional Executive Officer, among others subsequently visited the community.
As such, Bradford reiterated yesterday that another team of representatives from the government, the region and the CDC will have to visit Kako and the surrounding villages to assess the damage and determine the best way forward.
“Through the CDC and other Ministries we have been able to make two chainsaws available to them [Jawalla residents] and fuel so they have started to cut materials and such to start rebuilding,” Bradford adding, while pointing out that the residents in the community have been collaborating with the government to quickly find a way to move forward.
He also reiterated that there is a need for counselling to be offered to the residents who have suffered from the storm in both villages. He said that people are “very traumatised” and some are even afraid to walk and are anticipating another squall.
Earlier yesterday, a freak storm also ripped through several utility poles along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway and destroyed several Benabs at the Splashmin’s Resort. The windshield of a parked car at the Madewini Creek was also shattered after one of the utility poles fell on it.