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Humberto’s damage still to be cleaned up

The fallout from Hurricane Humberto, which battered Bermuda last month, continues to be felt across the island.

The Category 3 storm, which struck on September 18, snapped utility poles, uprooted trees, damaged crops and left thousands without power.

Strong winds also ripped roofs off homes, businesses, churches and other buildings.

Bethel AME Church, in Hamilton Parish, was one such casualty.

The Reverend Ruth VanLowe Smith said that the church was “fortunate”.

She explained: “The damage to the roof didn't go all the way through the sanctuary.”

Ms Smith said that while services had not been affected by the damage, the church is faced nevertheless with costly repair work.

She added: “Our [insurance] deductible is $14,500.”

Ms Smith said that the church was exploring fundraising ideas to come up with the needed funds.

She added: “Some members of the community have been generous to us. A mixture of internal work and community reaching in to us is part of the solution.”

Ms Smith said that hard times often brought out the best from her congregation and the wider community.

She explained: “We've had people come and reach out in different ways, so it's really been a blessing.”

In the West End, Somerset Police Station remains closed.

Roof damage has forced officers to relocate to the Dockyard Marine & Community Policing Office.

A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said there was no expected completion date for repair work. He added: “Damage to the roof is being addressed and then the rest of the building will be assessed.”

The spokesman said the cost of repairs was unlikely to be known until all work had been finished.

He said that the station's closure had not had an impact on community service, with officers “conducting their policing duties as normal”.

The storm's impact also continues to be felt at grocery stores and farmers' markets after several food producers were hit.

Anthony Amaral, of Amaral Farms in Devonshire, said that it would likely take until about December for food stocks to return to normal levels.

“The average crop from seed to finished product is usually about three months,” he explained.

Mr Amaral said that workers had managed to transplant “about half” of the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower crops.

He added: “They are bouncing back nicely.”

Mr Amaral said that the farm's 120ft greenhouse damaged in the storm was “a total loss”.

He added: “Basically, it's just got to be cut up and trucked away; it's beyond repair.

“It's survived other hurricanes in the past with some damage, but this one ... it's a total loss.”

Mr Amaral said that the vegetation die-off around the island in the wake of Humberto was because of the lack of rain associated with the storm.

He explained: “It didn't wash off the salt residue on the leaves. That's why everything is so burnt up and brown.”

Mr Amaral said that vegetation in a normally lush state would likely return with rain and cooler temperatures.

Tom Wadson, of Wadson's Farm in Southampton, said that his clean-up work continues.

He explained: “We still can't get into a number of fields.”

Mr Wadson agreed with Mr Amaral that the impact of the storm would be felt for weeks to come.

He added: “Everyone is trying their hardest to make Christmas.

“There's been a lot of planting going on.”

Mr Wadson said that the impact of storms such as Humberto could be “pretty demoralising”.

But he added: “You gotta just pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

“We have very loyal clients that rely on us. That's what keeps me going.”

Roof repairs: Bethel AME Church in Hamilton (Photograph by Paul Johnston)

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Published October 14, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated October 14, 2019 at 12:57 am)

Humberto’s damage still to be cleaned up

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