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Friday 24 November 2017
Local

First hit by Bret, Woodland floods again

Seeking dry ground: A man leads his cow along a flooded street alongside other residents in Woodland yesterday. Photo by Ansel Jebodh

SEETA PERSAD

Woodland in Siparia suffered its second round of flooding on Friday night after being swamped in June during the passage of Tropical Storm Bret. “The community of Woodland has been cut off by floodwaters in Pluck Road,” Siparia Regional Corporation chairman Dr Glen Ramadharsingh reported yesterday.

Ramadharsingh said the community feared badly because of the poor response by the Office of the Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), which, he claimed, also failed to help after Bret. “We have an army base not far from Woodland and they are not available to come here and provide services for the people,” he said. He said ODPM only put out a flood warning notice yesterday, after two days of persistent rainfall.

Ramadharsingh said homes in a five-mile radius were inundated and residents had to seek shelter with neighbours and relatives on higher ground. Floodwaters remain high and even when it runs off, residents will have to wait for weeks before they can return to their homes as the corporation will have to spray the areas for flies, mosquitoes and other insects. Ramadharsingh said inadequate drainage might have hampered the overflow from many rivers and tributaries into the Gulf of Paria. “This is an engineering problem that exists in this area,” he said. Watercourses, he said, had been earmarked for cleaning since the passing of Bret. He said the Ministry of Works and Transport must address flooding in Woodland and start urgent work to clear debris that was hindering the run-off. “I know the Prime Minister was here in this area after tropical storm Bret and there were talks of cleaning up after the storm but there is little done.”

Kumar Gangaram, who has lived at Pluck Road for 40 years, said he lost more than $30,000 in furniture and appliances, including beds, a washing machine and fridge. “This is the worst flood I have ever seen in this area,” he said, adding he had to relocate his family of six yesterday.

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