AGRICULTURE Minister Clarence Rambharat has said various agencies need to work together to control flooding, as there is no control over the volume and frequency of rainfall.
However, he said, it is possible to plan for what happens when rain falls. He was speaking at a workshop on the Integration of Urban Flood Risk, Mitigation and Management at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of TT (COSTAAT), Chaguanas campus on Monday.
Rambharat said after discussions with a joint select committee on disaster risk management, it would appear that the committee was struggling with the lack of co-ordination in the response to disasters, including flooding.
“My colleagues are working on various aspects of local government reform and two important areas are strengthening the local response to disasters and also putting social welfare closer to the municipal bodies,” he said.
This, Rambharat outlined, was so that relief can be made available faster. Finally he highlighted two major issues in dealing with flood risk mitigation. Firstly, giving leases to farmers and qualified squatters so that they can invest in the infrastructure to deal with flooding and heavy rainfall. Secondly, there is a need to adopt better attitudes to waste management and disposal.
“As individuals, if we properly dispose of plastic bottles and household items, it will go a long way to relieving our drains and rivers,” he said.
Rambharat said there must be a plan in place to deal with heavy rainfall and the effects of flooding.
He outlined the engineering solutions and disaster preparedness. On management, he said, “We need to be taking care of the big and little problems such as clearing watercourses,clearing underground drains, and stop the dumping of garbage in drains and rivers.”