Riverton fire victims struggling to survive

September 23, 2022
Johanna Morgan speaks about the devastating impact the fire has hand on her family.
Johanna Morgan speaks about the devastating impact the fire has hand on her family.
Johanna Morgan speaks about the devastating impact the fire has hand on her family.
Johanna Morgan speaks about the devastating impact the fire has hand on her family.
The ruins of the family house that was destroyed by fire last April.
The ruins of the family house that was destroyed by fire last April.
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Ever since her house in the Riverton community of St Andrew western was razed by fire last April, 65-year-old Johanna Morgan and her daughter, Jessica, along with her four children, have been subjected to extremely impoverished conditions.

The family struggles to find sustenance on a daily basis . Morgan, in an interview with THE WEEKEND STAR, recalled how she woke up to a gashing sound emanating from the ceiling of the house in which she, her daughter and her grandchildren lived. Moments later, a fire broke out in the wooden dwelling, forcing Morgan and her family members to flee.

In the midst of all the chaos, Morgan slipped from a concrete step leading outside of the house and broke her right leg and arm. Her right leg was not adequately cared for, so after undergoing hospital treatment and having her right arm restored, she has remains immobile.

"Me caah get up fi bathe, me haffi stay right here so and wipe up," she said while fixed to a bed in the one-room household that has been built next to the remnants of the burnt-out house.

The modest house accommodates six people and has only one bed. The family is without running water or electricity. Most of the clothes they once had were charred by the fire. Jessica occasionally sleeps on the chilly floor with the children.

Morgan was reduced to tears as she expressed that she felt as though she was a burden on Jessica, the ninth of her 10 children.

Some of her children, she said, are living in Manchester, Kingston, as well as overseas.

"It hurt me man when you have 10 pickney and only one a try fi help you," she exclaimed.

"She try, she do all weh she can do fi help we, but me cah stress har," Morgan said of her daughter, Jessica.

Jessica explained that it has been difficult to find work and that the family has had to resort to scavenging in the Sandy gully for plastic bottles to then sell at a recycling centre.

Mario Wallace, the administrative assistant to Anthony Hylton, the member of parliament for St Andrew Western, has been working to find the family a home under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP).

The NSHP is geared at improving the housing conditions of the country's most needy population. Wallace said Morgan's name has been submitted for consideration, but it is unclear whether she will be selected as a beneficiary.

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The family may be contacted via telephone at (876) 299-2646.

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