Trinidad/Tobago — Four Government Ministers showed up yesterday promising to help families who had lost everything when an out-of-control bush fire ravaged four homes in Siparia on Tuesday.
But it was neighbour Toolsie Bridgemohan who helped first, opening her home to ten neighbours.
Bridgemohan, 63, has allowed one of the families to stay at her four-bedroom home until they receive further assistance.
The homes were destroyed by a bush fire that began in an overgrown lot at De Gannes Village, Siparia, around 11.30 a.m.
Some 25 people were left without shelter. The victims spent the night with relatives. An elderly woman who complained of chest pains is still a patient at hospital.
Bridgemohan said, I know the family was looking for a place and they lived in the back of my house so I offered that they come and stay with me.
She has been living in the area for the past 36 years.
Yesterday former Minister of Culture, Ambassador Plenipotentiary Joan Yuille-Williams, and chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation Vidya Deokiesingh spoke with Bridgemohan over new living arrangements at her home.
Minister of Social Development Dr Amery Browne also brought food, bottled water and other basic needs to the families.
Local Government Minister Hazel Manning, Culture Minister Marlene McDonald, Minister of State for the Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment, Tina Gronlund-Nunez, and councillor for La Brea Junior Thompson also met the families.
The ministers were unaware of a Tableland family whose home was destroyed by a bush fire on Tuesday.
Browne said, We and the inter-ministerial team are in a position to assist with temporary housing to take families from a distressed situation. The families have been given forms for grants. We are still in our assessment phase but we will tailor the grants to suit the needs of the families as best as possible.
Browne said his ministry was also prepared to assist in the rental of living accommodation.
One of the victims, Amdika Jaikaran, said she hoped the officials will consider providing them with houses from the Housing Development Corporation in Debe. Jaikaran was one of 11 people left homeless when their house-which is separated into three apartments-was burnt.