Near miss for retired teacher as huge tree crashes down outside house

Retired school teacher Cynthia Lee Mack escaped injury when a sprawling tree collapsed, knocking down her water tank, fence and damaging part of her roof early Monday.

For months Lee Mack had been calling on the San Fernando City Corporation to chop down the tree located at the top of Alexander Road, Vistabella. The lot next to her home had become so overgrown with vines that she was worried for her safety. However, Lee Mack said despite numerous complaints nothing was done.

She said during the early hours of the morning, she was asleep when she heard something that sounded like an explosion.

"I thought it was probably thunder. It was raining a lot so I went back to sleep," Lee Mack said.

At daybreak, she said a neighbor began calling out to her.

"She told me that all the water from the tank flowing out. The tree fell on the house, damaging my roof and guttering. It damaged the mango and soursop trees in the yard," Lee Mack said. When the Guardian visited, fire officers were on the scene cutting up the tree. Lee Mack said she was thankful that she was not hurt when the tree collapsed.

Meanwhile, heavy rains subsided yesterday allowing flooding to go down from several parts of south and central Trinidad.

Chairman of the Couva/ Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong said disaster management teams were on the ground assessing whether there were any damages from the floods. He said floods were reported at the Couva/Balmain area while the Guaracara River was engorged.

"I'm the Mc Bean area floods entered one house and we also had floods at Las Lomas, Ragoonanan West Road, and Chase village but waters have subsided," Awong said.

Chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy said at Pancham Gardens in Borde Narve, some residents experienced flooding.

"We have an issue with Pancham River which has not been cleaned since UNC times. Back then we did some cleaning. We had to go to the bank of someone's property to clean the river. There is supposed to be on a ten metre reserve minimum from the river but people plant on the river bank, erect fences and then prevent the government from executing its responsibilities," Sammy complained.

He noted that the Oropouche, Gucharon and Papourie rivers were not filled to capacity but disaster teams led by coordinator Videsh Lall were on standby.

The Oropouche River, which acts as a major confluence for the four other major rivers, affects communities in Barrackpore, Debe, and Penal areas and usually during high tide, floods can back up for days when there are unusually heavy rains. The river passes through Godineau swamp—3,171 hectares of tidal marsh and mangrove—before emptying into the Gulf of Paria.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh also said there were rising flood waters and heavy rainfall in some areas but no reports of damages.


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