South, Central Trinidad hit by floods

Disaster management teams plodded through flood-stricken areas Tuesday distributing tarpaulins and foodstuff for dozens of families hard hit by floods in South and Central Trinidad.

While the waters receded in some parts of Claxton Bay, Gasparillo and Gran Couva, high tides coupled with heavy rainfall caused rising flood waters in the low-lying areas of the Oropouche Lagoon.

Along the M2 Ring Road in Debe, motorists had to park on higher ground while floods rose near the Namdevco market.

The Debe High School was flooded out and electronic items and books from the administrative office and the Information Technology room were washed away.

Paragon Recreation ground was flooded.

At Chester Street, Debe, residents complained that backfilling works by a resident had caused extensive flooding inside their homes. MP for Oropouche East Dr Roodal Moonilal who toured the flooded areas said it could have been avoided if the Ministry of Works had completed dredging works at the seven watercourses which drain the Oropoucvhe Lagoon.

"This flooding occurred because they failed to clean and clear the water courses around the Roundabout. Slush has built up over the years. We have not had work done for three years and the school lost valuable equipment, books, electronic equipment and furniture all washed away. If basic work had been done here this would not happen," Moonilal said.

A team led by Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein toured parts of Central Trinidad yesterday after reports of landslides and a collapsed house was reported by the media.

Hosein said, "I have been liaising with the chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong and based on reports there have been extensive damages."

Saying the flood damage was comparable to what was experienced last year, Hosein said many residents have been reporting that clogged watercourses had contributed to the problem.

"I know the Ministry of Works has done a lot of work but there is heavy rainfall and no matter how much you clean the rivers, there will be floods," Hosein said. He added that the Regional Corporations have been clearing minor watercourses.

Meanwhile, Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan and his team went to the Gran Couva Main Road where heavy rains had caused part of the road to cave. Delivery trucks were unable to enter several communities.

Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong says vehicles heavier than three tonnes were banned from entering the area. "Teams from the Ministry of Works are on the site assessing the damages. The road has caved in so badly that the WASA line is exposed so if heavy vehicles continue to traverse there, the main water line will break," Awong said.

He noted that flooded communities in Mamoral and Caparo are continuing cleanup exercises but even as this was continuing, rains continued well after midday on Tuesday.

"We were fortunate that the tides were low and the water was able to run off in some areas on Monday but we are now bracing for more floods," Awong said.

Councillor for Caparo / Mamoral John Lezama said at Sharp Street and Carr Street in Caparo, dozens of residents were marooned in their homes.

Others who were stranded in the floods were unable to get back into their houses until 2 am on Tuesday. There were also reports of flooding at Union Hall, San Fernando, Tarouba, Golconda, Farm Road, Valencia and parts of  Morvant.

There were also minor landslides along Lady Young Road.

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