National Security Minister Edmund Dillon was yesterday unwilling to rate the response of his ministry and other agencies to the flooding crisis confronting citizens in various parts of the country.
“We are in an ongoing process right now,” he told reporters at a joint news conference hosted by the Ministries of National Security, Works and Local Government and Rural Development at Temple Court, Port-of-Spain.
“We are still in the field, responding to the situation as it is right now. So, there is no issue to rate ourselves right now when the exercise has not been completed.”
Asked if he was satisfied, in the interim, with the actions of the responder agencies, Dillon said: “One is never satisfied. There is always room for improvement. There are a number of lessons that we have learnt.”
Dillon was also evasive when asked about TT’s preparedness for natural disasters such as hurricanes.
“I would not rate our readiness. I would say we are preparing for all natural disasters.” Dillon said citizens were severely impacted by flooding. “In the areas that we visited, there were a number of people who are severely affected,” he said.
“We saw people who were stranded and, therefore, we assisted them as much as possible. Hence the reason, I said, the military vehicle, in particular, and the members of the Fire Service, who were on the ground, had to evacuate some people because they were stranded.”
Dillon said in low-lying areas such as Woodland, Barrackpore, people were seriously affected.
“So, I would say it is a very serious situation hence the reason why the ministers were on the ground. Once people are affected, you have to put yourself in their position and try to bring relief as quickly as possible to them.”
Works Minister Rohan Sinanan agreed.
“We have had intense rain for almost three days. Up to this morning (yesterday), I was in El Socorro South and the residents were telling me that the water was still rising. Once somebody is affected, it is serious.”
Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said people had told him it was the first time they had experienced such volumes of rainfall.
“We walked through water, we drove through water as much as five feet high and we really must sympathise with these people who are going through what they are going through right now.
“They are going through it in their kitchens, in their bedrooms, living rooms, drive ways and I am asking the nation to pray for all the people who have been affected because God is in control and God has power over everything.”