Dwight Burgess stood in the middle of his one-bedroom board house with his eyes fixed to the roof. He wasn't looking for holes through which rainwaters - dumped by the outer bands of Tropical Storm Ian - entered his dwelling on Sunday night and Monday. Instead, his focus was his double bed that was affixed to the ceiling.
"Mi have to just tie up mi bed and pack up mi tings dem and go way pon di hills," said Burgess who celebrated his 50th birthday yesterday.
"The water climb mi steps and come in the place. The current strong so til it turn over the fridge," added the Bottom Halse Hall, Clarendon resident.
The community, which is located near Mineral Heights and New Bowens, is prone to flooding. Burgess told THE STAR that he has lost several pieces of furniture in previous floods. He said that once Jamaica's Met Service began issuing alerts about possible impact from Ian, he knew that he would be in for a rough couple of days.
"It was a bad experience, I wouldn't wish it for my worse enemy," Burgess said as he used a hose to wash silt, deposited by the murky floodwaters, from his house. He was horrified but not surprised when he returned home earlier yesterday, having spent the night sheltering at a friend's home, to see the extent to which floodwaters ran riot in his humble abode.
However, unlike other residents who spent much of yesterday putting items of furniture out in the open so they could attract sunlight, Burgess spent much of yesterday morning washing away the silt. His reason for not sun-drying his furniture was simple; he had only a few pieces.
"The amount a furniture weh mash up fi mi before, it nuh make any sense to buy more because it a guh mash up again any time rain fall," he said.
A few houses away from Burgess' home, Dennis Pitter told THE STAR how his family of six hoisted their beds on concrete blocks to prevent the in-rushing floodwaters from reaching them. It turned out that the blocks were not high enough. Water also entered the dwelling via the roof.
"This morning my son throw out one of the mattress because it soak," bemoaned Pitter.
"See the TV mash up deh! Every time rain fall a dis happen. If yuh did ever see di road on Monday, yuh would frighten because the water take over and reach very high. Every time it rain we go through this. Mi nuh know what else to do," he added.
Derrick Green, another Bottom Halse Hall resident, said he felt imprisoned in his home which was surrounded by water. Like Burgess, he was not prepared to leave his bed in its usual place.
"Mi hook up mi bed inna di house top and seh mi a gwan watch the rain, and the place flood out. Mi get pen up inna di house and couldn't come out. When di water go down little mi drop down mi bed and kotch pon it. Mi never have anywhere else to go," Green said.