The Planning and Development Ministry conducted a mission earlier this month, to determine the extent of assistance needed to support flood mitigation efforts in parts of the country that were affected by Tropical Storm Bret on October 18.
The mission was done in collaboration with a team from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The mission held discussions with several stakeholders, particularly in South Trinidad, which was badly affected by the storm.
Penal/Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy said a holistic approach is necessary alongside other efforts including efficient cleaning agencies, behavioural changes toward pollution, and education of the people between negative short-term actions and the long-term actions which contribute to flooding.
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Joanne Deoraj said, “We must not be afraid of the rain and of high tides because we live in a tropical country”. She said a number of measures will be taken to assess gaps for effective enforcement of flood mitigation.
These include the sluice gates which comprise automatic and manual installations, located in the Trinidad River which are meant to control the flow of water but were breached during the floods because the automatic installations are inactive, and a second measure includes the early warning systems located in the Diego Martin area and one other location.
On March 9, the ministry together with the CDB formally launched a country strategy which proposes financial support of US$436.7 million for the period 2017 to 2021.
Under the country strategy arrangement, the Government can gain access to resources available under the programme, subject to the CDB’s evaluation of specific projects.