Flood garbage lingers in Sangre Grande

An­gry San­gre Grande res­i­dents are call­ing on the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that the huge mounds of garbage which were re­moved from their homes fol­low­ing last month’s flood­ing are now re­moved im­me­di­ate­ly from the road­sides.

They say they now fear an out­break of dis­ease be­cause the garbage is now draw­ing ver­min and smelling up their com­mu­ni­ties.

The garbage, which in­cludes dam­aged ap­pli­ances, soaked mat­tress­es and fur­ni­ture, has been piled up at the front of their homes for the last three weeks and is yet to be re­moved.

The ar­eas af­fect­ed in­clude Neer­a­jan Street, Pic­ton Road, Riv­er Road, Michael Street, Co­op­er­a­tive Street, San­gre Grande South, Fish­ing Pond, North Oropouche, Ve­ga de Oropouche and sec­tion of Fos­ter Road, Ram­dass Street and Ojoe road.

Res­i­dents told the T&T Guardian even if they want­ed to they can­not af­ford to pay pri­vate trucks and back­hoes to re­move the garbage, as the lit­tle mon­ey they have is now be­ing spent to pur­chase new fur­ni­ture and ap­pli­ances for their homes, which are es­sen­tial for their sur­vival present­ly.

“Some of us are sin­gle par­ents and un­em­ployed and de­pend on so­cial wel­fare to live. The floods have put pres­sure on many par­ents and their chil­dren,” one res­i­dent who did not want to be iden­ti­fied said.

“Yes as­sess­ments have been made to the dam­ages but this will take some time be­fore we are com­pen­sat­ed and we just can­not sit and wait, we have to make some spe­cial ef­fort to have life go­ing.”

Res­i­dent Sharmi­la Mooti­lal, a teacher, told the T&T Guardian that the garbage is now be­com­ing an eye­sore, breed­ing grounds for mos­qui­toes, flies and a haven for ro­dents, in ad­di­tion to the stench they have been in­hal­ing since the flood­ing.

She said chil­dren have al­so been get­ting rash­es on their skin and the dried mud is now mak­ing dust which slush which is blow­ing in the air al­so a health haz­ard for the res­i­dents.

Mem­bers of the Hin­du com­mu­ni­ty who cel­e­brat­ed Di­vali yes­ter­day said it is the first time in 40 years they will be cel­e­brat­ing the fes­tiv­i­ty in a garbage-filled en­vi­ron­ment.

Vil­lagers Dookhantee and See­baran said they had cleaned in­side their homes but the huge heaps of garbage on the out­side made them feel as though no clean­ing was done.

“It is three weeks to­day since the flood made hav­oc in our com­mu­ni­ty and all the garbage re­mains in front of our house still to be re­moved,” Ramdeen said.

Con­tact­ed on the is­sue, San­gre Grande Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion chair­man Ter­ry Ron­don said there was a mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the act­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Ve­na Bu­choon on or­gan­is­ing the crews for the col­lec­tion of garbage and no pa­per­work was done to have the trucks work on week­ends to re­move the de­bris be­fore the man Di­vali cel­e­bra­tion.

He said he had since con­tact­ed Min­is­ter of Rur­al De­vel­op­ment and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Kaz­im Ho­sein, who im­me­di­ate­ly got the min­istry act­ing PS to give the all-clear for the re­moval to be­gin im­me­di­ate­ly in San­gre Grande and en­vi­rons and for the re­lease of funds for the pay­ment of the work crews.

He said work on the re­moval of garbage start­ed on Mon­day and will con­tin­ue un­til all streets and vil­lages are cleared.

Ron­don promised to fight for the peo­ple as it was in bad taste to still have garbage ly­ing in front of flood vic­tims’ homes, es­pe­cial­ly to the Hin­du com­mu­ni­ty who were cel­e­brat­ing Di­vali to­day. He open­ly apol­o­gised to them.

On the is­sue of health con­cerns, Ron­don said 20 young doc­tors had tak­en time off from their du­ties and vol­un­tary vac­ci­nat­ed over 200 peo­ple from Ve­ga de Oropouche on Sun­day at the North Oropouche Gov­ern­ment School and this will con­tin­ue in oth­er ar­eas.

- by Ralph Banwarie. Photo by Ralph Banwarie.

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