Forty-five days after 19 families’ homes were destroyed by a cloud funnel that touched down in the Chandanagore area, those affected are still awaiting relief cheques promised to them by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services.
One of the victims suffered a double whammy when thieves struck at what was left of her home and stole fixtures, fittings, shelves that they unscrewed from the walls and even bedroom doors that were still intact on the door frames throughout the home.
A very distraught victim, Khadene Crowe told Guardian Media yesterday that she felt as though she is getting a “run-around” from the social welfare officer assigned to her matter.
“It’s only promises that remain empty and from since I started my paperwork for them when I got the reports from the Disaster Management Unit its only excuses or I’m made to alter estimates I got for them with no proper explanation as to why they keep making me do it so it reached to a point where I had to eliminate much-needed materials to suit them for the necessary approval which I got. But the cheques I’m yet to receive and up to now, I cannot say when I will get it so that I can begin to have my roof reinstalled.”
Crowe was severely affected as the roof to her home was blown off by the cloud funnel. Crowe suffered additional losses when the rain drenched her appliances.
The recent break-in by thieves has made her situation even more dire.
“Had everything go as planned and I had gotten the relief cheques I would have people there and work already started maybe close to finish by now but now it’s more stress,” Crowe said.
Another victim, who wished not to be named said she too is receiving a “run-around”.
She said, “Every time I contact the officer assigned to my case I’m being told she’s on sick leave. One time I got fed up and decided to go to the office to look for her and when I sent a message telling her I was coming in she told me don’t come. But I still went down and was met with the security guard where the communication went to and from through me to the officer to the assigned social officer who is looking at our cases and going through the processes.”
One day after the disaster which occurred on October 14, officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, via a release confirmed that they reached out to render immediate disaster relief assistance to the affected families, including Crowe and her family.
Crowe said when the incident occurred a lot of people reached out to help but some fell back on promises.
She said many also did not assist when they learnt that Minister Donna Cox had paid them a visit and promised that all relief cheques will be issued.
Crowe said, “I am still grateful for the Minister’s visit, however, I have not gotten any relief and still when those cheques are released to me it would not be enough for me to rebuild and I will still be needing all the help I can still get especially from those who promised to help financially and otherwise.”
Crowe said she needed to get the financial aid as soon as possible so that she can start work and move in with her family again, “I have been separated from my three children since and struggling, staying some days by different relatives. It is very hard for me, my husband and the children, especially that they have online classes and they are using borrowed devices since their laptops were all destroyed that day on October 14.”
When contacted for comment on Friday, the social officer assigned to Crowe’s case said she would not be able to respond and referred Guardian Media to her supervisor.
Also contacted on the apparent delay in providing financial assistance to affected families Minister Cox promised to look into the cases.