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Henry’s story: water after the storm

Old man sits in tentHenry, like many Grand Turk residents, lived in a small wooden home that he built for himself on the flat lands surrounding the old salt pans or ‘salinas’ as they are known locally. He sits guarding his plot in a huge armchair, enjoying the little bit of shade given by the tent that the Red Cross delivered about a week ago.

Henry has worked for many years on the island’s garbage trucks and his voice sings along like the rhythm of an old honky-tonk blues song as he describes the chaos that struck his family twice in the first week of September 2008.

Surviving the hurricanes

“Our homes were flooded by the torrential rains that Hurricane Hanna dropped from the sky for four whole days, until the salt pans filled and dumped my family things in the dirty smelly oozy stuff,” Henry recalls.

He’s no young man any more, but his memory of the 135 mph winds of Hurricane Ike is fresh and clear. “It took a couple of rooms off my house and that pile there was my daughter’s. She’s not going to be living there no more,” he says.

Henry said he couldn’t really believe it when after Ike, despite all the roads being piled high with the hurricane’s deadly debris, he and his neighbours got a delivery of water purifying tablets and jerry cans the very next day, as well as tarpaulins which helped them keep the water out of the rooms they crowded into.

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