More than 800 people remained stranded in their homes when communities were cut off from each other in Mayaro yesterday as the Ortorie River overflowed triggering widespread flooding.
The river broke its banks on Friday night gushing into villages and swamping the Naparima/Mayaro Road.
Residents were moved to tears as floodwaters surrounded their homes.
“Rain started to fall (Friday) evening for hours, non stop. I was looking out the window hoping and praying there would be no flood, but by nightfall the waters began to rise and when I woke up I learnt that the Ortorie River had overflowed,” Carmel Akow, who lives in Mafeking Village, told Sunday Newsday.
Akow, 45, said the electricity was disconnected but all the appliances in her living room remained floating. “I lost everything and things are already hard for us. This is really sad, it hurts,” lamented the mother of five. Akow said she was still coping with losses from flooding in the village two years ago.
“I lost so much in that flooding, now how do we recover from this?”
Jimmy Gangadeen, 57, recalled flooding on Friday’s scale last occurred 45 years ago, in 1972 when families were also marooned in their homes.
“It is similar to what is happening now. We can’t move and we have to depend on those in authority to get to us by boat. All the villages can do is hope and pray. I am praying that things don’t get worse than they already are,” Gangadeen said.
Mayaro MP Rushton Paray, who was out in the communities assisting families, said many residents were in shock, some fearing the worst, as they remained trapped in their homes for hours.
“It is a frightening situation,” he said. He predicted the high flood waters would remain stagnant for nearly 24 to 36 hours depending on the tides. “Many families throughout the village are in distress and we are trying our best to see how we can get to these families via boat,” Paray said. He said there was no other means of getting to the homes of residents.
Cedar Grove, Lazarri, Cuche and Poole Valley were also under flood waters. He said there was considerable losses. Paray said residents whose homes were not flooded teamed up to transport foodstuff and medicine via pirogues to stranded families. Rio Claro and Mayaro police were also called in to help.