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Monday 23 October 2017

Santa Cruz flood affected residents get corporation help

It was a scene of disbelief for several residents of Sam Boucaud Road, Santa Cruz, after their homes were gutted by flood waters, due to heavy rainfall associated with an Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) on Thursday night.

Three streets, Driftwood, Sandbank Avenue and Sam Boucaud Extension were badly affected by flood waters, after the river burst its bank and flooded the community.

While in the area yesterday, Newsday was told by several residents they have been receiving assistance from the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation to help with the clean-up process.

“If dealing with my brother’s death was not enough last night on Thursday, I got a call informing me that my business was ruined by flood waters.” This was the comment made by Darril Saunders, owner of the Chocolate Bar Café and Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride, situated at the corner of Sam Boucaud Extension, Santa Cruz.

She said it was a double dose of horror, before breaking down in tears, trying to come to terms with what had transpired.

“I did not know what was happening here. I got a call and I was told that the place has been flooded out. This was a passion business. This is a business where we work with women from the community. We have to go on.” As she steered at the building in disbelief Saunders said, “I heard that the water was so powerful that it burst one of my neighbour’s walls behind the business and the water pushed itself throughout the entire establishment looking for places to flow.”

At the home of another resident, a wedding decorator, who gave her name only as Miss Thomas, sat on a chair crying as members of the corporation were seen pushing away slush from inside her living room.

“I panic. I was terrified. I did not know what to do. I think there should be more information to those who are actually in the situation. I came from the beautiful hills of Paramin and I never experienced anything like this. I don’t know what I would do.” She continued, “I took pictures of the water step by step as it raised. I had to climb on the kitchen counter to get away from the water. What is heart breaking is that I lost all my photos albums. All the irreplaceable things I have lost.”

Willburn Small, supervisor of the clean-up teams from the corporation, said the situation at Sam Boucaud Road, Santa Cruz was terrible.

“We have helped almost 20 households from Thursday night to this morning (yesterday). It is a terrible situation, one of the worse I have seen in a while. We are out in numbers working with residents to bring some kind of assistance to them.”

When contacted, chairman of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation, Anthony Roberts said he believed the flooding in the area was caused by the main drain running alongside the Saddle Road being blocked with a bamboo patch together with other debris.

“The main drain is the responsibility of the Ministry of Works and Transport, as a result, there was a back up of the flood water in the area, which spread into the streets. This flood water passed through a couple of houses.” He continued, “The damage will be assessed, and the corporation has been making representation on behalf of the residents to the Ministry of Works to maintain the river. We have trucks and water trucks and staff in the area working with the residents cleaning out their homes, together with people from within the community who have volunteered to assist.”

Meanwhile, in a release, the Ministry of Works and Transport said they have deployed clean-up crews to Santa Cruz, Maraval, the North Coast Road (near the Maracas lookout), and the Lady Young Road, with the assistance of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation and the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, after the occurrence of landslips and fallen debris from Thursday’s heavy rainfall.

The ministry said equipment is currently on site at Haleland Park, La Seiva, San Boucaud Road and Saddle Road, and the crews will continue working into the weekend as needed to return these areas to a state of normalcy.

Motorists are advised that one lane is currently open to vehicular traffic along the North Coast Road and as a result, moderate traffic is expected due to the presence of heavy equipment and workers on site. Motorists are therefore advised to reduce their speed and exercise caution.

The Ministry of Works and Transport has deployed the necessary resources to ensure that all roads remain passable and continues to pursue permanent solutions to landslips, which can only be executed during dry weather.



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