Family grateful no lives lost after quake destroys house

A St Thomas family is grateful no lives were lost when a section of their house in Ramble was destroyed during the magnitude-5.6 earthquake on Monday.

One member of the family, who gave his name only as Jhevan, told the Jamaica Observer that he was the only one of his seven family members at home when the earthquake struck. He said he was in bed when he felt the entire house shaking, but was not aware of the damage until after the earthquake.

“The first thing that came to my mind was where to run to. I was on the bed first and I realised the earthquake was getting heavier, so I ran out. And I saw the fridge a shake, and I go outside and hold on to the two iron poles until everything cool off,” he said.

“I heard the stones rolling down from the hillside around the entire community because most of the hillside did a tear down, so when the stones were coming down we heard them falling because the stones heavy,” he added, noting that the earthquake caused landslide damage at several places within the community.

Jhevan said he did not notice the major damage to the house until after the earthquake.

“It was after I went back into the house and started looking around I realised the extra light coming from the room, and I realised I can see straight out a road. That was when I noticed the wall gone and the entire bathroom mash up,” he said.

Hi uncle, Vincent Richards, said he was sad when he saw the damage but was grateful that no one was hurt.

“I just thank God nobody never get hurt and a never the entire house get damage. I was thinking a whole lot a things, and it sad, but I wasn’t that surprised because we live in a world where anything can happen,” Richards said.

Lamenting the loss of his sewing machine, Richards said his greatest disappointment, however, was the complete destruction of the bathroom.

He expressed concern that another earthquake could lead to more severe damage to the house as there are major cracks within the building.

Declaring that this has been his home for more than four decades, he emphasised that he does not plan to relocate, despite his concerns.

His focus now, he said, is on cleaning up and moving forward, despite the inconveniences.

“I am going to throw some of the old blocks down the gully, and things like that, and just clean up what I can clean up. We will just continue to use the tarpaulin in place of the wall to help keep the things safe, and some people are supposed to come do some assessment and see what can be done,” Richards said while holding his damaged sewing machine.

The family said they are awaiting assistance after Member of Parliament James Robertson visited the house on Monday.