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Wednesday 16 October 2019
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‘Worst flooding in 50 years’

Sangre Grande residents appeal for help

File photo: People walk along the flooded Eastern Main Road leading to the police station in Sangre Grande. 

PHOTO BY ENRIQUE ASSOON
File photo: People walk along the flooded Eastern Main Road leading to the police station in Sangre Grande. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE ASSOON

After four days of torrential rain, the eastern town of Sangre Grande became a virtual sea when floodwaters rose, making many roads impassable. Some residents were left marooned in their homes while others were evacuated.

During the early morning yesterday, drivers were unable to navigate the streets, as the Eastern Main Road and several side streets were flooded. Several sections of the roads were washed away and the asphalt was raised in others, making it dangerous for residents making their way through the muddy water.

While the water dissipated quickly in some areas, residents were bracing for more rain yesterday evening.

Houses on Ramdass Street, Ajish Baksh Road, River Road, Rigby Street, Cooperative Street, Cumuto, Coal Mine and Boodooville remained surrounded by murky water. Yesterday's high tide only contributed to the flooding woes.

Residents made their way to the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation clamouring for assistance after their household items, furniture and appliances were damaged.

The Romero family was just one of those affected. Derek Romero said the Cunapo River caused major flooding.

"We never had a big flood like this.

"You know what caused this? Is because they don't clean the drains and when they do, is halfway," he said.

Other affected residents called for mattresses, water, food and help to repair their homes.

One man began chanting, "We want help, we need help," while another voiced his displeasure when he was not given a mattress.

Sangre Grande Regional Corporation chairman Martin Terry Rondon described the situation as the worst floods to hit Sangre Grande in 50 years. He said this was not the case because of a lack of cleaning the drains, but an act of nature. He renewed his call for a disaster centre to be established in the region.

"The disaster centre has to be designed for storage and housing affected residents. You must have a designated area which is properly staffed. We were not prepared for a flood of this magnitude. We cannot keep going around like headless chickens. This is the last time I am making this appeal," he said. Rondon said about 250 families were directly affected by the flooding. The Sangre Grande Civic Centre was designated as a shelter. Rondon was unable to say exactly what was the overall damage, but said that clean-up costs would run into millions of dollars. "This is a disaster in Sangre Grande."

Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Glenda Jennings-Smith, who accompanied Rondon and other councillors to visit affected areas, said she supported the chairman's call for a disaster centre because it was important to have this facility in a flood prone areas.

"We need a disaster centre which is fully supported and adequately staffed. It must be able to store emergency supplies and must be easily accessible."

Yesterday, the civic centre was unreachable vehicles could not traverse through the floodwaters. In some areas the water reached between four and five feet high.

"Right now we are just trying to make the residents comfortable. Some of the residents who were not affected have been volunteering to prepare meals for those who were unable to do so. They are even preparing meals at the constituency office."

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made a quick stop at the corporation after he visited residents in La Horquetta.

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