Living in shambles : Kids forced to use manholes as toilets
Wellington Street Villa, an informal settlement in the western Kingston community of Denham Town, is home to approximately 200 residents whose living conditions are in dire need of upgrade before it is too late.
During a recent visit to the area, formerly known as Chucker Moore Land, THE WEEKEND STAR met with a mother of two, 34-years-old Claudine Richards, who took us on a tour of the settlement, pointing to the problems and threats to public health.
"We want bathroom, 'cause most people have to use like pail and so, and go a manhole. Just two bathrooms working and not everybody get to use it."
"You see how big the villa and is whole heap a people live ina yah; and memba say people have kids and so, and just the two zinc bathroom a work. Who can't use the bathroom have fi go a standpipe go bathe or stay inna dem yard and bathe inna bucket," she said.
THE WEEKEND STAR asked Richards what types of development she would like to see in the community she has called home for all of her life.
"We need bathrooms, 'cause we have kids in here, and for kids a go to the manhole, it nuh look appropriate and it nuh healthy. Some of the house dem want fix up, dem a leak bad."
The structures, consisting mainly of board and zinc, sit between Wellington Street and Milk Lane.
It was challenging for our news team to navigate the dwelling during the visit because of the closeness and set-up of the homes.
Richards was thankful that the Villa has been blessed to avoid a fire situation which could mean mass displacement. THE WEEKEND STAR was told that important documents were stored in plastic in case of emergency.
"Mi have my documents dem ina one likkle bag that in case of anything. Mi plan for anything enuh, 'cause you know we nuh plan fi move furniture. Just grab your documents and come out. Some people say dem give other people outside dem documents to keep, like family weh live somewhere else."
Richards said residents have been appealing for help for a long time, but their calls have fallen on deft ears.