Flood victims have flocked to the Oropune Police Youth Club, Oropune Gardens, Piarco, as its executive, past and present members and volunteers, gathered to assist in offering relief to the devastated community.
The club, located at 6th Avenue, where major flooding occurred, was turned into an impromptu relief centre, following the floods on Friday and saw hundreds turn out to assist flood victims.
The youths were yesterday commended for their willingness to serve in the community. They distributed meals and supplies, at the club, on foot and through volunteer drivers.
Leader of the club, officer Kevin Greenidge, said they saw the need and were able to address it through “overwhelming support from several NGOs, at least two churches, the TTPS, Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation and residents, young and old”.
He especially thanked the executive of the TTPS for recently revamping the club and its official reopening on October 11.
“It could not have been more timely. And despite any ill-news reported in months gone by, based on the unity shown, the willingness and volunteerism in the days since the floods, I truly believe the future of our community is in good hands,” said a proud Greenidge.
At present the club has 202 young members, under the guidance of Greenidge, assistant leader Gillian Pitt, parent body president, Crystal Redhead-Horsford and other executives . It is spearheaded by the police youth club secretariat and community policing.
On Saturday, Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith paid an impromptu visit, toured the facility and commended the executive, youths and volunteers for taking the initiative. The club was also visited yesterday by several senior officers, including Snr Supt Daniel of Northern Division, acting ASP Aaron Beddoe and Insp Skeete Phillip in charge of youth clubs for community policing secretariat.
All relief activity was spearheaded by assistant commissioner of police and community relations Patsy Joseph and superintendent community policing secretariat Collis Hazel.
Supplies were also dropped off by former PNM candidate Alisha Romano and Angelo Ferdinand and opposition senator and deputy political leader, Khadijah Ameen. MP Prakash Ramadhar also saw to the delivery of loose sand to enable residents to make sand bags in the event of more rains.
On Saturday, youths from several Seven Day Adventist churches assisted residents in cleaning their water-damaged homes and swept out sludge.
Flood victims were also given daily meals, cleaning supplies, toiletries , food items and clothing through the club.
On Friday residents were marooned in their homes as flood waters rose due to incessant rains. Clean up exercises begun early on Saturday morning.
One traumatized resident almost broke down, as his eyes filled with tears, recounting his family’s ordeal.
Shaking his head, the father of one, showed photos of his furniture and appliances floating in chest-high flood waters.
“Listen all yuh ent know how this is a blessings nah. We lost everything. To tell the truth I don’t really know how to start over,” he lamented.
With traumatic incidents like this in mind, two organisations have decided to collaborate to offer psychological counselling services to affected communities.
Caribbean Life Management Solutions (CLMS) alongside De Leon and Associates, yesterday said they felt compelled to offer psychological assistance to the affected communities as the have done the same in other countries ravaged by natural disasters. Counselling psychologist, Nyssa Mendoza of CLMS said they visited Dominica, through the Massy Foundation, following Hurricane Maria, last year.
As of Saturday, their teams have visited families in Greenvale, Sangre Grande, Carapo and Oropune, where they also lent a hand in clean up exercises.
“We are the second respondents, who address the emotional and mental anguish in these types of incidents much like with grief and loss. If a flood victim whether direct or vicariously, is already predisposed to sadness or depression, could you imagine what this kind of traumatising incident will do?”