PIPARO residents have been told to stay away from the immediate area surrounding the Piparo mud volcano as it has been deemed a danger to life and limb. On Saturday night, residents were awakened by the pungent scent of sulphur gas emitted from several large fissures and cracks which appeared near the mud volcano.
One home-owner, Eddie Solomon together with members of his family were forced to abandon his home as several large cracks appeared on the walls while a concrete walkway was lifted at least two feet above the main walkway. The last eruption was 20 years ago.
Princes Town MP Barry Padarath said seismologists, while admitting that more test needed to be performed at the site, said it is a “ticking time bomb.”
“I have spoken to minister Kazim Hosein this morning, he has assured me they are going to send Down additional seismologists and geologists to conduct some testing in light of what we are hearing that it is a ticking time bomb but it would be up to the residents themselves in terms of evacuation.”
“So at this point we need some further information before they can make that determination, but even 20 something years after the last eruption, it is still fresh in many people’s minds.” Padarath, who visited the area, said the mud volcano “appears to be emitting sulphuric gases” while there are fissures and ruptures around the volcano.
“The main thing that needs to be done right now is additional testing and for persons to come into the area and give us as assessment of what has occurred and what they predict will happen in the future before any additional action is taken by residents. But in the meanwhile, they are very vigilant and the DMU at both the Couva and Princes Town corporations will provide any assistance to residents.
He however said the situation was not being treated with the type of urgency it deserved. Regarding shelters, he said there is one main shelter, the Piparo government school which can be used as a temporary shelter.
Couva/ Tabaquite Talparo Regional Corporation chairman Henry Awong said the area around the volcano has been cordoned off,” with seismologists advising that no one go close to the crate. “It has been deemed dangerous to life and limb.”