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Monday 18 December 2017
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"WE NEED HELP!"

Ten displaced people who lived on a hill on Jaggan Village, Santa Cruz, until a landslide claimed their homes on Saturday, are expressing disappointment in the way they have been treated by the authorities responsible for disaster relief.

Newsday spoke to one of the landslide victims, Emily Sookraj, who said that since they were rendered homeless disaster relief bodies have given them little to no assistance.

"We need help!" Sookraj said, "We cannot live in a situation like this! Why hasn't the government done more for us? We have no place to rest our heads. We have no water or food. Since this happened, we have not gotten any help from the corporation or any ministry. All they are giving us is promises. I would have never expected that my government would have given me this treatment. They can do much better than this."

Newsday was told that yesterday morning people from Social Services went to the displaced residents and gave them forms to apply for a TT$20,000 grant. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) also came to the area, and supplied them with sheets, flour, rice cereal and milk, but other than that they had to fend for themselves.

Without any help from any government bodies, the villagers gathered tools and began clearing the mud, silt and debris that literally came crashing down on their heads on Saturday afternoon.

The men worked for two days clearing tonnes of mud with little food, and no rest. Yesterday Newsday was told that the men were barely able to move, let alone continue clean-up operations. The men simply sat among the rubble that used to be their homes, disappointed, displaced and disenfranchised.

At about 2 pm on Saturday, mud, sand, silt and sediment from the hill in Jaggan Village slipped from the hillside and crashed through the roofs of three houses. While there were no fatalities in the landslide, a woman was hospitalised. She was later released from hospital after being treated for damages to one of her feet.

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