Reporting by JADA LOUTOO and COREY CONNELLY
Large sections of Trinidad were swamped yesterday by flood waters which continued to rise in certain areas following over 24 hours of non-stop rainfall which began on Wednesday.
As a result, the Meteorological Service yesterday maintained its riverine flood alert for Trinidad especially as the Caroni River burst its banks shortly after midday. In its 9.12 am bulletin, the Met Office advised that as opposed to street and flash flooding, riverine flooding is more prolonged and widespread.
It also reported that water levels in some major rivers as well as their tributaries reached threshold levels overnight and the flood situation would be exacerbated by rainfall yesterday accompanied by gusty winds. “(With) the occurrence of high tide at 3.50 pm, the flooding situation is expected to continue for the next 12 to 24 hours in areas already affected,” the bulletin said.
People living in the Caroni River Basin were asked to be on alert for high river levels and overspill. Heavy rain left many areas in Central and South Trinidad under water Wednesday night with several families marooned in their homes. In a statement yesterday, the Inter-island Transportation Company Limited (TTIT) advised that due to prevailing sea conditions with waves three metres high, the sailing of the T&T Express has been affected.
Yesterday’s 4 pm sail from Port of Spain to Tobago was cancelled and so too today’s 6.30 am sail from Tobago to Port of Spain. While sea conditions are expected to continue today, the TTIT said additional updates will be provided. The dedicated cargo vessel, MV Cabo Star will maintain its daily schedule.
The Cabo Star was still on schedule to sail from Port of Spain to Tobago at 2 pm yesterday and was expected to depart Tobago to Port of Spain at 11 o’clock last night. This decision is necessary, the release state, to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and vehicles on the sailing to/from Tobago.
Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Martin Terry Rondon was an angry man yesterday as he and councillors toured several flood areas in East Trinidad. “We as the authorities have to get together and follow the law and we have to be strict because at the end of the day it falls right back to sometimes one person who really cares to try to get the job done,” Rondon said.
“We have to come out to try our best to please the people because they know what is going on. Everybody telling you is the developer, is the squatter. They are suffering for the people who doing the wrong, so we have to get together and read the riot act. The laws are there but they are not being enforced.”
Areas in Sangre Chiquito, North Oropouche, Fishing pond and Vega De Oropouche were under flood waters Wednesday night literally dampening Divali observances for many. And while clean up exercises in some areas began in earnest yesterday, flood waters remained at knee height and above in other areas.
Speaking to Newsday in Sangre Chiquito where waters crossed the Eastern main road, and razed through the homes of several families in Seechandra Park Rondon said the problem was caused in large measure by a developer whom he did not name. “The developer will have his or her papers but I don’t think people from Town and Country (Planning Division) coming on the site to see what it will cause if they are authorised to build, to other persons in the area. I don’t think that is being done.”