Heavy rainfalls associated with feeder band activity from Hurricane Maria this morning resulted in several homes in South Trinidad flooded and several residents marooned for hours in their homes.
Some of the affected residents are from the Cedros, Santa Flora and Penal areas
The Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC) estimated that at least 20 houses were severely affected by the flooding at Bonasse Village, Cedros.
Vice-chairman of the Cedros Village council, Anthony Steele believes a heavy overnight downpour on Monday and the discriminatory dumping of garbage are mainly responsible for disaster faced by residents.
“My neighbourhood has to understand that they cannot dump garbage and things like bottles, old mattresses and pillows,” Steele said. “The water was so much in such short space of time. I cannot say how much inches fell, but it was more than we ever witnessed in a long time. What made it worse, the tide was full so the water couldn’t go anywhere.”
Steele, also a community activist and worker of the Disaster Management Unit of SRC, added that contractors are repairing a bridge and so water had to be diverted in the interim. He noted that while it contributed to the flooding, it was not the major factor.
“We have to be cognisant of the fact that we want our bridge fixed and they (workers) have to divert the water and so right now it is not 100 percent workable,” Steele added. “We have to pay a sacrifice if we want to have bridge fixed.”
Among those affected were 82- year-old amputee Jane Abraham. She has diabetes and hearing problems. Residents, using a pump borrowed from the nearby contractors, had to bail out water from Abraham’s home and physically remove her to safety. They also used buckets to bail out water from her home and other affected residents. Steele called on the ODPM to facilitate residents with a pump “for situations like this in Cedros”.
Councillor for Cedros, Shankar Teelucksingh, visited the affected residents, among them Abraham, adding that about six weeks ago, works started on the bridge, which he claims contributed significantly to the flooding.
Teelucksingh added: “Due to the work, the water had to be diverted and the volume of water was too much to handle. I am not blaming the contractor but the Minister of Works. My heart went out to those people and we are lending a hand.”
At Santa Flora, murky brown flood waters surrounded several homes and residents said they expected it to recede by evening.
One resident Paul Nicome of Erin Road, Los Bajos, attributed the flooding not only to heavy rains but also lack of maintenance on a major river from Santa Flora to Erin.
“Once heavy rain falls, this happens. In the dry season when the officials are supposed to be cleaning it, they are not,” Nicome explained. “There is nowhere for the water to run and this has been happening for years now. Water from all Coora, Siparia, pass here.”
One home was surrounded by water and residents said that it was a “normal” occurrence whenever heavy rain fall. They said that the water ‘normally’ subsides in a few hours.
Along the SS Erin Road, Quarry Village, Siparia, near Bajnath Trace, a tree fell and SRC workers had to cut and clear the debris from the road. There were also reports of flooding in the Penal district.