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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Tobago

Karen leaves $24m damage

Tropical Storm Karen caused flooding, strong winds and choppy waters at the Scarborough Esplanade on September 22.  - DAVID REID
Tropical Storm Karen caused flooding, strong winds and choppy waters at the Scarborough Esplanade on September 22. - DAVID REID

Tropical Storm Karen, which hit Tobago on September 22, caused$24 million in damage, according to the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).

Allan Stewart, director of TEMA, said on Monday, "We are looking at just in excess of $24 million worth in damage across all the sectors, based on the damage assessment and needs analysis that we collected from the various divisions within the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and other institutions."

He added, “The process has begun towards the recovery and construction works...In the case of in Mason Hall, they started work on the retaining wall where the homes were about to collapse in the Sandy river. In Moriah, a road collapsed. Works to fix the road have begun already.”

He said TEMA is awaiting an update on repairs to damaged houses from the National Commission for Self Help Ltd.

Julien Celestine, the Tobago director, National Commission for Self Help Ltd, said a cheque distribution ceremony for affected residents will be held on November 12.

Stewart said TEMA's damage assessment and needs analysis report includes the cost of repairs and damage caused in terms of losses. The report was completed last Friday and submitted to Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles on Saturday to review.

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, right, chats with National Security Minister Stuart Young, front centre, and Infrastructure Secretary Kwesi Des Vignes, left, during a tour of areas affected by Tropical Storm Karen, on September 23. - THA

Stewart was unable to give details of the report but was able to say it includes the clean-up of roads, damage and losses reported from various organisations, and houses and utilities that were affected.

He said the report is very comprehensive and includes a compilation of assessments by the THA, Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, Fire Service, TEMA emergency responders, Social Services under Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development, Fisheries department T&TEC and WASA.

The Scarborough Esplanade, Scotiabank, ViewPort supermarket, Endeavour's Children and Maternity store, T&TEC and a number of other Scarborough businesses were submerged in water on September 22 and reported serious damage. All sailings on the interisland ferry were cancelled when the Scarborough port and terminal building experienced massive flooding.

TEMA also received reports of flooding, landslides, blocked roads and fallen trees along the northern coast of Tobago. In Plymouth and Roxborough, fishermen battled to save their boats but some were lost and badly damaged in the rough seas. Approximately eight boats and their engines in Roxborough were destroyed. A Parlatuvier fisherman told Newsday some boats sank and fishing equipment was lost.

One Mason Hall man’s home was completely destroyed by a landslide during the storm.

A worker at the Scarborough port helps clean up the mess after Tropical Storm Karen caused heavy flooding in the capital city last month. PHOTO COURTESY THA - THA

Outside Scarborough, there were reports that a house with seven people trapped on the first floor was partially flooded at Birchwood Triangle, Lowlands. A family of four also was also said to be trapped inside their Rockly Vale home in Lambeau. Phone lines went down and several villages reported power outages that lasted for hours.

The Chief Secretary, the TEMA director, National Security Minister Stuart Young and other officials visited several affected sites on September 23 to get a first-hand view and talk to people who suffered significant damage.

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