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Tuesday 20 November 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Are we ready for 'Irmageddon'?

THE EDITOR: This country faced one of its worst flooding disasters in history. The recent rains in Trinidad and Tobago caused people to be trapped in cars and homes. Some spent the night sleeping on the roof of their houses due to rising waters and there seems to be no end in sight at the moment as the rains still fall.

Traffic ground to a halt due to highways being closed. There is NO excuse for this failure by present and past governments who refused to put things in place to deal with disasters of this magnitude. If this could happen after a heavier than normal rainfall one could only imagine what would happen if we face a major storm or hurricane?

More than a year ago Hurricane Irma completely destroyed Barbuda’s way of life and according to reports, was uninhabitable for the first time in 300 years. An entire civilization that existed for centuries was extinguished by Irma on Friday September 15, 2017 which highlights the fact that nature is no respector of persons. We are all at risk.

We have witnessed what nature can do and we must begin to take hurricane preparedness more seriously in this age of climate change. I think we are currently ill-equipped to deal with a direct hit from a hurricane. The construction industry has not yet evolved to withstand the threat of severe winds which accompanies a hurricane and we continue to experience poor governance.

The constant and never-ending degradation of wetlands by developers creates the conditions that lead to severe flooding and there is an urgent need for a dramatic change in policy and projects geared to saving this nation from severe flooding. Short-term financial gain seems to be priority in the minds of some government ministers and contractors at the expense of thinking about the future of TT.

It is my hope that “Irmageddon” in Barbuda less than a year ago is remembered and our own recent disaster serves as a wake up call to all of us here in this nation. It is my hope we change our focus from making a quick dollar and instead be more concerned about the consequences of our short-term thinking.

SIMON WRIGHT, Chaguanas

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