Fears of a repeat of the Divali day floods were allayed for Barrackpore residents yesterday as the incessant rainfall, which began last Thursday, eased on Saturday night and allowed flood waters to gradually subside.
However, Mayaro residents were reportedly cut off from the rest of the island as flood waters drained from the higher elevations, such as Rio Claro, to the seaside community.
Interviewed yesterday, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray described the water levels as being comparable to what had occurred during the October 19 floods when whole communities in Mayaro were marooned for several days.
“Several areas in Navet, like Jairam Trace, water is still up but there is a receding of the water in places like Poole Valley, but what happens is when Rio Claro recedes, the water comes up in Mayaro, so that’s the dynamics of the water flow here,” he said.
“It is equated as to what went on two months ago in terms of the level of the water both inside inner Mafeking, so basically Mayaro is cut off unless you come through with a truck,” Paray said, adding, “the main roads are impassable to low vehicles.”
“There are families that are marooned right now, such as Cedar Grove, and we have dispatched some trucks from the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation that can move through the water to assist in any emergency cases if people need to get out to seek medical attention,” he said.
However, he noted, that residents had learned “hard lessons” following the Divali Day flood and were better prepared for this weekend’s floods.
“I am counting that the water starts to recede in another 24 hours and the impact is not as bad as two months ago,” he said.
And regarding the reasons behind the perpetual flooding, Paray said while persons had not changed their habits about dumping waste into water courses, he noted that the Ministry of Works had not desilted major watercourses for the past two years.
“There has been a failure of the Ministry of Works to put an aggressive cleaning of the river courses throughout the country, this is why after one or two days of rain there is massive flooding,” he said.
“I have been begging the Ministry to clean one specific water course that has been totally silted after the Divali flooding and two months, every week I would call and tell them that about 50 homes will be marooned if the rain comes down again and so said so done,” he said.
The water course in located in the Bel Air road area, Mafeking, and takes the runoff water to the Atlantic Ocean.
“Every time you talk to them, they have no money to do anything but in the dry season the government has no choice, they have to take an aggressive approach to cleaning the water courses or every time we get two or three days of rain there is flooding,” he said.
Asked whether the corporation had received any funding from central government to clean watercourses, he said, “Since the budget, it is my understanding that they have received no funding for projects, all they have received is money to pay salaries but other than that there is no funding to do any types of projects.”
Paray said the corporation may have to go “cap in hand” to the business community for relief items for flood victims should the floods not recede.
Meanwhile, the Barrackpore community, which had resembled a ghost town on Saturday due to the widespread flooding, seemed totally transformed as residents ventured out of their houses and made their way to the local market and groceries in preparation to welcome the New Year.’
However, swollen rivers and drains served as a reminder that flooding could recur should the gloomy overcast conditions give way to incessant rainfall.