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Saturday 18 November 2017
Local

Vega de Oropouche under water, 80 families affected

Vega De Oropouche remained under water yesterday, two days after heavy rainfall led to massive flooding in various parts of the country.

More than 80 families remain affected in the Eastern community as water continued to rise yesterday. There were reports of livestock drowning and many people losing household appliances as water invaded houses.

Hardest hit were areas along Sahadeen Trace, Melajo and Ravine Sable communities which up to 5 pm yesterday, remained submerged under murky water. Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Martin Terry Rondon told Newsday the situation was dire.

“Vega is under level water,” he said. “On Thursday, the water did not subside. So, now it is worse because the tide remains high...that is the problem.” Rondon, who visited the flooded areas early yesterday, said the water also caused many residents to remain marooned in their homes.

He said officials from the Ministry of Community Development were on the field, yesterday, doing assessments of the losses incurred by families. Saying flooding was caused by the North Oropouche River bursting its banks, Rondon, again, blamed selfish developers and squatters.

“My appeal is for us to see about our own here. We have reached out to Dominica but we have to reach out to our own here now. That is my appeal,” he said. “After that, we have to see how best we can alleviate those problems by seeing how we could get those developers and all the squatters to do it right.

“As fast as someone starts to develop, we should be on that person. As fast as somebody starts to build in a squatting area or on a water course, we should be on them. If we don’t act, we will be reaping the results of our inaction which is the flooding you are seeing.”

Rondon, who is also the councillor for the Toco/Fishing Pond electoral district, said while flooding had always occurred in the community, “It has never been this terrible.”

Vega De Oropouche councillor Anil Juteram, who was kept busy yesterday assisting residents, told Newsday the flooding problem in the area was caused by poor drainage and non-maintenance of watercourses.

“I think the time has come for us, as a country, to put certain contingency plans in place long term in terms of river mouths coming out to the sea. We have to create some kind of work in terms of pumping out that water faster.”

Juteram said he was deeply concerned about residents who lost furniture and equipment in the deluge.

“A lot of people lost household items for the second time–Tropical Storm Bret was the first and the second time is like a two in one. It is very heart-rending because all of these people had cleaned up for Divali only to find out — flood.”

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