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All hope is not lost in T&T

Published: 
Monday, June 26, 2017
Rescued woman delivers baby girl
Proud parents.... Karma and Akil Jackson comfort their baby girl Jael Hope at their Constantine Road, El Carmen home, yesterday. PHOTO: AYANNA KINSALE

Meet Jael Hope Jackson.

She was born on Friday at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital weighing six pounds, 12 ounces.

Her mother, Karma Jackson, 32, says it was nothing short of a miracle when “angels” came to her rescue in rising flood water at El Carmen Village, St Helena, on Wednesday.

The simple act of kindness and bravery by strangers who ventured into almost four-foot high water, on board the tray of a flatbed truck, has inspired many in the country that all hope in mankind is not lost.

“I’m doing fine with my bundle of joy,” she said yesterday during a telephone interview from her home. She was discharged from the Port-of-Spain General Hospital on Saturday.

Yesterday she had a special visitor, Emergency Medical Technician Lindford Lewis—who without hesitation jumped about the truck to guide her to safety.

Jackson, who moved into the community only a year ago with her husband, Akil, and seven-year-old son Jakaden, said she is usually a reserved person in her community and like most people kept to themselves.

She said on Tuesday night after the passage of Tropical Storm Bret she could not sleep.

“My head was banging and I was having difficulty breathing,” she said.

She said she had a scheduled clinic appointment in Port-of-Spain that day as she was 40 weeks pregnant and her due date was on Friday. When she looked out the window of her two-storey home she saw the streets around her home flooded.

“It is the first time we experienced anything like that. When I saw the flood I realise I can’t go anywhere,” she said.

Panic set in. She and her husband began calling for help.

The Fire Services, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management, Emergency Health Services and at one point thought about calling the police. Many of their attempts were met with a busy tone. Her grandmother, who lived in La Horquetta, managed to get on to the ODPM who promised to contact the Jacksons in five minutes. No one ever did.

“I was in a depressed stated...I felt it was a lost cause with them (the emergency agencies),” she said. She eventually got on to an officer from the Fire Service who advised her to call an ambulance. The officer told her that the ODPM was aware of the flooding situation in St Helena and they were trying to deal with it.

Karma said she thought at least the Fire Service would come to her rescue as they had big trucks to navigate through the flood but was left disappointed.

“The pain was getting worse and there was no way to get out. I needed to see my doctor,” she said.

By then, her husband had gotten on to an EHS dispatcher who prepped him to deliver the baby if it became necessary. She was told an ambulance had been dispatched but could not venture into Constantine Road as the water was too deep. The dispatcher remained on the phone until the woman was rescued.

“All I could remember was the sound of a truck horn. I told my husband I’m hearing a truck. He fly up and see you all coming,” Karma said.

“I really have angels...sometimes people are in crisis and no one comes to their assistance. It was a moment, not only was my husband by my side, but strangers were there to save me. Thanks to the truck driver, the men who jumped into the flood water to take me aboard the truck, and everyone else involved.

“I felt special...you see not everyone is for themselves. I saw the good the country have in it. There is still a lot of love out there,” she said.

“I don’t think we can thank them enough. It was really a blessing. The relevant authorities, the EHS, they came and waited for two hours and delivered me to the hospital. Thanks to Guardian Media and CNC3 for airing our situation, if it wasn’t for you all the problem would not have been highlighted,”Karma said.

She said even after she got on the ambulance she remembered the driver nearly shutting down as he had to rev the engine as he passed through more flood waters on his way to Mt Hope Women’s Hospital.

She said while the nurses at the hospital were sympathetic, she met a doctor who wasn’t. She was asked why she did not attend her scheduled clinic appointment and was not given any medication to ease her pain.

Karma said after she was discharged after noon she had to travel to Diego Martin by her mother-in-law as their vehicles were marooned at their home. The following day she celebrated her third wedding anniversary with her husband—an event that she would remember for the rest of her life.

On Friday she gave birth to her bouncing baby girl at 2.45 pm.

She said she had a great experience at the hospital although she had been sceptical about the treatment in public institutions before. She had made arrangements to give birth at the Mamatoto Resource and Birth Centre in Belmont, where she had her first child.

Karma said after she was discharged she saw the CNC3 report on social media and was amused by some of the comments.

“Those who named my child Bret and Bretta had me laughing...I was overwhelmed by the love of T&T...There are still good people out there,” she said.

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