Portland flood robs family of independence


April 27, 2016
Gareth Davis Photo A shop at Berrydale in the Rio Grande valley, which was inundated during heavy rains on Sunday.
Gareth Davis Snr Photo Kemisha Kilburne in a solemn mood after her house, in background was demolished during a landslide on Sunday.
Gareth Davis Snr Kemisha Kilburne, right, whose house was destroyed by mudslide at Mill Bank in Portland, is comforted by a friend.

Less than 10 minutes before her house was demolished by a landslide, 29-year-old Kemisha Kilburne was a happy mother with great plans for her family.

But the dreams of an awesome future that Kilburne was planning has come to a screeching halt.

This is because the forces of nature that manifested in the form of torrential rain, which caused flooding and landslide, have turned her dreams into a nightmare.

"It took only one burst of rainfall to cripple my future," said Kilburne.

"I live each passing day as if it is my last, and with my children, ages six and 13 years, totally dependent on me, life is seemingly at an end," added the Mill Bank resident.

"I had so many great plans for my children and I wanted them to get a proper education. Now we are left without a roof over our heads, and everything that we own has been lost under the mudslide. Since the damage, I have simply resorted to crying as I reflect on my loss," Kilburne said.

Kilburne's three-bedroom house was destroyed by a massive landslide on Thursday last week shortly after 7 p.m. during more than 12 hours of persistent rainfall at Mill Bank in the Rio Grande Valley of Portland.

The mother of two recounted that less than a hour before the disaster, she sent her six-year-old to stay with a family member as she had some business to conduct elsewhere.

Her teenaged daughter had not yet returned from school as she was doing extra lessons.

"I received a phone call about 7:30 p.m. Thursday that my house was destroyed by a landslide. I thought it was a joke, so I simply hung up the phone. The persons kept on calling, but I ignored the calls. My world came crumbling down upon my return, when I realised that my house was demolished. I nearly had a heart attack. My head starting spinning ... it was like a bad dream," Kilburne told THE STAR.

Since the devastation, Kilburne's six year old has not returned to school as her books, uniform, shoes, and other item of clothing have been buried under the landslide.

Kilburne has also been forced to move her small family into a house occupied by other relatives.

"I lost everything including a television, refrigerator, DVD player, washing machine, sofa, beds, microwave, a computer, furniture, and clothing. My sense of independence has disappeared in the twinkling of an eye. But my greatest concern is my children, as they are now without a home," the mother said.

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