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Sunday 20 October 2019
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El Socorro South’s flood woes

COREY CONNELLY

A large section of the El Socorro South community remained under floodwaters yesterday, four days after heavy rainfall pounded parts of the country.

The extensive flooding caused many families to be marooned in their homes, virtually cut off from the rest of the community, which falls within the purview of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation.

Aranguez/Warner Village councillor Amrit Sooknanan, who waded through the murky water along El Socorro South Extension Road, in rubber boots, yesterday, enlisted the help of corporation workers and of some fishermen in the community to provide much-needed assistance.

The fishermen used their pirogues to transport foodstuff, bottled water and other items to their distressed fellow villagers.

Sooknananan estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people had been affected by the flooding.

“The lower half of the village has been cut off,” he told Sunday Newsday.

“So, I called out the villagers with their boats. They do not hold back from jumping out at a time like this.”

Sooknanan said the boats made several trips to and from the affected areas transporting food items, other commodities and residents.

The councillor said he hoped the flood waters would subside.

“The tide in the sea (Gulf of Paria) have to drop so it will pull out the river and then the river will pull out the drains in the village. Nothing else could happen at this point in time.”

Saying that flooding has been a longstanding problem in parts of his electoral district, Sooknanan called on the Ministry of Works to intervene.

Earlier, during a news conference at the Ministry of National Security’s headquarters, Temple Court, Port-of-Spain, Works Minister Rohan Sinanan told reporters he had visited the area, which, he said, appeared to be one of the communities hardest hit by the flooding.

Meanwhile, residents in Lower Dookiesingh Street, St Augustine, were also reeling from heavy flooding. When Sunday Newsday visited the Bhithal home, its six occupants were seen wading through several inches of water trying to salvage appliances.

Noral Bhithal said his wheelchair-bound mother, a diabetic, had to be removed to safety when they noticed the water levels behind their home begin to rise on Wednesday.

Bhithal blamed the flooding on poor drainage in the community.

“In the back here does not have proper drainage and as rain fall waters always coming through the back,” he said.

“This happens every year but we have never seen anything like this yet. This is the worst.”

To add insult to injury, Bhithal said neither the councillor for the area nor St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar had visited his home.

“One girl came to us saying she was from the office of the councillor. She took some notes but we have not heard anything since,” he said.

“Every time we get water, we never see a councillor, nobody. The only time we see the MP Prakash Ramadhar is when he won the election.

Bhithal said his family lost a washing machine and other appliances “but we really have not done any estimates yet.”

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