Works Minister Rohan Sinanan says there is nothing that can be done to repair the coastal erosion taking place in Bamboo Village, Cedros.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to the area, Sinanan said coastal erosion happens all over the country. Two weeks ago, eight homes were destroyed by a massive land slippage in Bamboo Village. The affected families have been temporarily housed in the Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) Lake View, Point Fortin development while talks about permanent solutions are ongoing.
Member of Parliament Edmund Dillon accompanied Sinanan on the tour.
“This is coastal erosion, look at Maracas, we have all the landslips there–the key to this is really how all the water will flow from the top and then we need to address how the seas will affect us- it is a problem that we have all over Trinidad,” Sinanan said.
“It is just because this area – and the soil – that we would have had this massive erosion here- but coastal erosion is real, it is here and we are going to have to deal with it.”
Sinanan said the ministry’s priority is to get the residents out of harm’s way.
“The priority is actually to get the residents out of harm’s way as we come in to study the entire area. In terms of rebuilding the area, that is really not an option- it is really going to be too costly to undertake something like that.”
Director of the Coastal Protection Unit, Candice Gray-Bernard said a report produced by her unit showed that two main factors contributed to the erosion.
“It’s a mixture of both factors, both natural and anthropogenic (human impact on nature.) We observed that there is some cutting at the base of the cliff- we also realised there was some surface outflow as well off the edge of the cliff.”
She said there had been no further erosion since her unit came on site.
“Since we have been on site from the first occasion we have not seen any further erosion. One thing I mentioned before is that the material that moved to the base of the cliff is actually acting as a natural solution.”
In spite of the barriers placed along the roadway leading to the slippage, members of the public still ventured to the edge, taking photos and exclaiming over the rubble that had once been houses scattered along the shoreline.
There was a cardboard box hung on one of the barriers with a sign encouraging visitors to leave a donation towards the affected families. The community was filled with the sounds of electrical tools yesterday as some of the residents who have been relocated tried to salvage material from their homes before the sea claims them.
Latiff Mohammed, 59, who has been allocated temporary housing in Lake View, was on site with his nephew Shazard and several workmen.
“We are trying to see what material we could get from the house still, it still have pieces of wood that can use back when we have somewhere to build again, it don’t make sense leaving it to end up on the beach.”
Using a piece of stick, Mohammed tried to demonstrate how much the concrete and wooden structure had shifted.
“It move about two to three inches the last time and I feel is any day now it will fall completely and go in the sea.”
Mohammed said he had lived for the past 40 years on that spot but there were signs before that something was wrong.
“We would see little signs that the land was going to start caving but nobody thought it would happen like this.”