House on brink of collapse
The collapse of a retaining wall in Pleasant Hill district, Portland, during heavy rains on Saturday night, has left three occupants of a two-bedroom concrete house literally on edge.
The earth is constantly shifting and is now threatening their lives. The downed retaining wall has also resulted in a major breakaway, which is being undermined by a nearby river. Earth movement is also visible and the inclement weather, which has been affecting the parish over the past two weeks, continues to wreak havoc on residents.
THE STAR visited the area and saw the breakaway which is threatening to disrupt the home of a mother and her two children, who are encountering sleepless night during a heavy downpour.
"Unless remedial work is done, I could lose my home," commented Veronica Pink, mother of two small children. "I have been living here for six years and the situation gets worse whenever there is a heavy downpour. It is rather frustrating for us, as even when we are wrapped up in our beds, the slightest drizzle puts us on edge, as we know that a disaster is just waiting to happen," she added. The owner of the property, Keith Edwards, told THE STAR that the situation could have been rectified by the parish council some years ago.
"Another heavy downpour could very well see this house ending up in the river," said Edwards, who is also a retired member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
"I have been making frequent complaints to the Portland Parish Council since 2006 about the state of the retaining wall, which is being constantly undermined by the river. I have been made all kinds of promises and today this is the result of their negligence and incompetence. This wall was built in the 1960s and it has aged over time. Agents of the State need to be proactive rather than being reactive," he added.