Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | June 1, 2009
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VOX POP - Hurricane ghosts

The ghosts of hurricanes past continue to haunt many Jamaicans who suffered the loss of loved ones, property and peace of mind.

From Hurricane Charlie in 1951 to Gilbert in 1988, and Gustav last year, Jamaicans have heard horror stories of the impact of these systems on an unprepared or underprepared population.

Today, we share some of the experiences of residents of Kingston communities.

  • Norma Blair:

    Don't even mention the name Ivan to me! I was over by a house at 7 Rae Street and I remember when I stood there, I said, 'Our Father, which art in heaven, please don't make the zinc go'. But when I looked, I saw one fly and I said to me friend, Pepper, 'Jesus, watch deh!' and she said, 'Two more zinc gone!' In the morning, people went to look and they said of all the houses in the big yard (1A Paradise Street), my own was the only one destroyed. I stayed with friends for six weeks.

  • Dolly:

    Gilbert tear off me housetop. Me lay down ah watch di breeze tek off people's housetop and when me look, my own gone to, and me just laugh. Me did have to pack up me tings and move me kids. But the most damage was caused by the wetness, which caused me to lose things.

  • Daphne Wright:

    At 76, she remembers hurricanes Charlie and Gilbert, but it was Ivan in 2004 which was 'the terrible'.

    I remember when Hurricane Ivan come and the whole of me housetop blow off and me neighbours never have anywhere to live.

  • Eric White:

    Gilbert treat me bad; it lick me down. Me was building a house and for weeks, we couldn't do any work. No electricity, no water and the main road blocked by trees. All the food finish and we had to eat only tin things and pickled food.

  • David Grey:

    When me hear seh Gilbert coming, me laugh, because me was 25 and all di time dem say hurricane a come it miss we, so me never tek it serious. But Gilbert tek me roof, the breadfruit tree collapse and the gully bank burst, pushing gallons of water through me house. That was my first and worst hurricane experience. Since that, me prepare as soon as me hear dem seh breeze blow coming.

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