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Advertising exec loses everything in Diego flood
Roger Walcott needs a bed, a stove and a refrigerator to begin rebuilding his life. Walcott, an advertising executive and the owner of RAW Advertising, and his family lost everything when Saturday’s floods raged through their home at Pinewood Gardens, Petit Valley, Diego Martin. In an interview with the T&T Guardian on Tuesday, Walcott thanked friends and family who came to his rescue but he could not say what his next move would be.
With a smile, Walcott recounted the events of Saturday morning. He said: “About quarter to five, a little after five maybe, my 16-year-old daughter, Chelsea, woke up and said ‘mummy, daddy, water!’ “We got out of bed quickly because we flood usually in that area—usually about six inches, or up to 18 inches—maybe twice over the six years. So we are accustomed to getting prepared during rainy season.
“The family moved what they could on to tables while more water flooded into the house. Then the fridge began to float. “My wife told me ‘we have to get out of here now, Roger,’ because when we looked outside, the water was higher than inside.” His pride in his wife, Amelia, shone as he recounted her insistence that the entire family leave together.
He said he waded through chest-high water with his 81-year-old mother-in-law, his wife, 16-and-nine-year-old daughters and their dog, unsure where he could take his family at 5.30 am. Walcott returned to help his neighbour, Candice, her daughter and her daughter’s friend, who were trapped in a back bedroom because the floodwaters already had invaded other parts of the house. He also rescued eight or more other people.
After the water subsided and the family went back to the house, Walcott said his daughter began crying after seeing the damage to her room. He added: “Friends and family just started to come in by the dozens. We went through the house. Clothes, shoes, wares, everything was gone. We sent out for more garbage bags and I told them to just pull.
“We just pulled and placed them in garbage bags and threw them outside on the lawn. Everything... TV, video, appliances... we had to pick up the fridges, the stove, the washing machine, the dryer. Everything gone.” Walcott showed the T&T Guardian over 190 e-mails and Facebook messages asking if help was needed. Many friends and family offered the Walcotts a place but their friend, Sheraz Ahamad, offered him an apartment and two cars.
The family’s major concern now is whether or not the insurance company will pay. Initially, Walcott was disappointed with the response of the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) as well as other response agencies, such as the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), who came to assist with the clean-up on Sunday.
But after seeing the magnitude of what happened, he understood why the agencies came when they did. “I understand the late response because of the overall damage and I was satisfied with the response when they came. There was nothing I asked those people to do that they did not do,” he added. Walcott was unsure where he and his family would go now but they are taking it one day at a time.
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