While several families will be ushering in the New Year’s in their homes, two Moruga families will not be so fortunate.
Single father Marcus Bruce, 28, and his sister Kimberly Bruce, 26, lost their homes to a landslide along the Moruga Road, Cachipe Village mere days before Christmas. The stress may have been too much for Kimberly to handle as a few days later she had a miscarriage.
Kimberly and her two daughters ages 16 months and seven years have now sought refuge by her mother while Marcus and his two sons ages four and two years old are staying with one of his other sisters.
Guardian Media was told that the land began caving months ago and now two other houses, as well as two parlours, could also crumble. Marcus explained that on December 20 they experienced heavy showers and his house, a wooden and concrete structure, as well as his sister’s wooden home, began shifting. Scared for their safety, Kimberly, who is unemployed, moved out with her children the following day while Marcus and his two sons evacuated on December 23.
“We get some movement in the place, house start to sink. I had my two kids with me so we start to relocate weself. We had to go and stay by we sister for a little point in time until we could get a little assistance,” he lamented. All that is left of Marcus’ house is a concrete shell while wooden pillars were the only evidence of where Kimberly’s house once stood. The houses were built on state land, but Marcus had been living there for about 15 years.
“For the Christmas season it was real hard knowing I had my kids to provide for and I couldn’t do anything for them…The little money I had was to try to secure a next home for we to move to. We didn’t have a Christmas,” said Marcus. He could not buy any presents for his boys.
Marcus spent his birthday on Wednesday trying to salvage and source material to rebuild a structure at a nearby location.
“I’m self-employed in construction but the way things is right now it a little tough, no work for the holiday and it’s not really a stable or regular work but it help make ends meet,” said Marcus. While the spot where he is rebuilding “is not the best,” Marcus just wants a home for his children.
Marcus losses also included a television and a tablet device that his sons used for online classes.
Meanwhile, Kimberly is also asking for assistance to rebuild her home. She also lost her bed, washing machine and stove.
“Their grandmother (her mother) is where I’m getting the little help and assistance. If wasn’t for her we wouldn’t have had anything.”
Kimberly who was a few weeks pregnant suffered a miscarriage on Wednesday night. “How I came and lost my home I was stressing over these past few days.”
Another resident Celia Louban who lives with her husband and four children is worried that her home will be next to go. She said when the land began caving ten months ago she reported it to the authorities, but nothing was done.
“Since it started to move it just drop in a sink and just continue. The more the rain falls, the more it just continue sinking.”
Neighbour Lynette Cooper, 58, who also runs a parlour along the Moruga Road is also concerned because the land behind her business place has already eroded.
Councillor Joseph Lorant and officials from the Princes Town Regional Corporation’s Disaster Management Unit visited the area on Wednesday. Lorant who has sourced food supplies for the family explained that the area is prone to landslips.
Moruga/Tableland MP Michelle Benjamin said a drain was supposed to have been built along that stretch under the $178 million allocation by the Ministry of Works and Transport for infrastructure works in the Moruga area. Benjamin has sent correspondence to relevant agencies including the Ministry of Social Development, Housing Development Corporation and Self Help, requesting assistance for the families. In the interim she is trying to help them rebuild temporary homes.
Anyone willing to assist the families could contact 360-8339.