Edward Morancie: "Maria made minced meat of that (retaining) wall
Maria Story # 9: By Carlisle Jno Baptiste
Edward Morancie is a tradesman; he also regularly drives-up-and-down the Pointe Michel to Roseau route driving one of his two buses. The other bus was being driven by his stepson Nashun Attidore but Maria took away from Morancie. Attidore was "his trusted right hand," he says.
"My son Edmond woke up that day (September 18,2007) and started to pack…he packed everything he had in the house. I guess he knew or felt something that we didn't know or feel.
"Nashun (his brother) and I took it for a joke and we were making fun of him and asked him where he was going and even told him that it appears he was packing to go to England. Only to find out that later that day (during the evening) there was a surprise for us when we were struck by Hurricane Maria."
Morancie said his girlfriend ( Nashun's mom) along with his son Edmond and himself decided to seek shelter at his mother's house because they sensed that the area was not altogether safe. Nashun, he said, was asked to come with them but he refused saying that he was safer at home.
"We left him and went to my mother's place…While there we heard that the hurricane which was a category two was upgraded to category five. We then tried to reach Nashun but we were unsuccessful. He had already said that after what we went through in the area after Tropical Storm Erika he would not be spending any more natural disaster in that house; so I was shocked and surprised he decided to stay.
"I woke up the next morning to the devastation and destruction of Hurricane Maria and my mind was just not at ease, something was troubling me. So I decided to return to my home where I left Nashun to see him. It was 4am.
"On arrival when I saw the site, I realized that he can never survive. He had three other friends with him in the house during the passage of the hurricane…it was heart breaking to come to grips with the fact that I had lost him. We decided to move after what we experienced during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika. We built a retaining wall but Maria made minced meat of that wall. Given the amount of water that we got during the passage of Hurricane Maria and knowing that our house was just about 400 feet from the ravine, I knew that those in my house had no chance of survival," he said sobbing.
Morancie said that he has never seen the ravine like that before in all his years in the area. In fact, he recalled that most times they would watch the ravine rage down carrying with it lots of stones and small trees but nothing for them to fear or worry about.
"But that day it carried ten or more times the amount of water that it would usually carry. Based on how the house was designed, it was a dwelling area with a workshop about the same size of the dwelling area. So it was like a vault since all the water that came was stored in the workshop causing the house to collapse. His mom was the person who tried to convinced him to come with us and I regretted that I didn't because I am sure he would have come with us had I asked him to and this has been hunting me ever since that tragedy.
"Nashun was a people's person and loved by all, always have a bright pleasant smile as a bus driver. He was my right hand, my business was thriving with him, and he was trusted. I have lost my right hand and now I have to start all over again using my left hand.
"My message to those building their homes, please think twice as to where you build and when you hear of a tropical storm or hurricane and you are told to evacuate, move out. I don't wish what happened to me to happen to anyone else especially since year after year it is getting worse. Once you hear bad weather and you in low lying area just get out."