St Helena residents still cleaning homes after last week’s floods

Sieunarine Coosal, chairman of Capital Campaign Cabinet Habitat for Humanity, and councilor Samuel Sankar meet residents of Kelly Village on Tuesday. - Photo courtesy Samuel Sankar
Sieunarine Coosal, chairman of Capital Campaign Cabinet Habitat for Humanity, and councilor Samuel Sankar meet residents of Kelly Village on Tuesday. - Photo courtesy Samuel Sankar

Residents of St Helena and other communities surrounding the Caroni river are still cleaning up after last week’s floods.

Newsday spoke on Tuesday with some who said they still need help.

One week ago, families had to leave their homes after the river burst its banks and caused street and flash flooding in areas such as Madras Road, El Carmen, and the St Helena bypass.

“We still cleaning up,” said Bevi Ramkalawan of Madras Road. She said her family was close to finishing, but still needed help with having their cesspit cleaned.

Lochan Lutchman of Haracksingh Trace, off Madras Road, said things are getting back to normal, slowly but surely, because residents are used to the after-flood cleaning.

He said he and his family were spared major loss because they were able to secure most of their belongings by raising them above the water level.

He and his neighbours are now working on managing the stench from the silt and garbage that rose with the flood. He said residents would be grateful for donations of cleaning supplies such as bleach and disinfectant.

Roger Cyrus of Caroni North Bank Road said while he and his family were able to move back into their home, a lot of their furniture was destroyed in the flood.

“We’re trying to see what can be salvaged.” He said some furniture, including a bed, wardrobe, dining room, and living room set were still outside the house being cleaned and dried.

He said the family has also received help from the Seventh Day Adventist Church, of which his daughter is a member.

“We’re getting groceries. It’s three families in the house. Whenever things come, we share it.”

He said he is still concerned there might be another flood in the area before the end of the rainy season.

Sideek Razack, whose car was swept away by floodwaters on the St Helena bypass on Thursday, said he is still waiting to hear from his insurance agent what compensation he may get. The insurance is fully comprehensive, he said.

Razack and his eight-month-pregnant wife Sasha were on their way to work on Thursday morning when they encountered floodwaters on the bypass. After being forced to the edge of the road by vehicles in the eastbound lane, Razack’s car was swept away by the heavy current on the westbound side.

As the car filled with water, nearby farmers tending to cattle got the couple to safety.

St Augustine/Piarco/St Helena councillor Richard Rampersad said food and hamper distribution initiatives are still ongoing. He said he visited residents, most recently on Sunday afternoon, giving out prepared meals.

“They were thankful because people did not have an opportunity to cook, as they are still cleaning their homes.”

He said the Disaster Management Unit of the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government is visiting affected areas in a data-capture initiative to ascertain who has lost belongings and how they can be compensated.

Councillor for St Augustine/Piarco/St Helena Richard Rampersad visits St Helena residents affected by last week's floods . - Photo courtesy Richard Rampersad

He said many residents have said they need septic tank cleaning and cleaning agents to sanitise their homes.

Rampersad said, on Friday hampers and water were distributed in St Helena and St Augustine South, another affected community.

Residents are still putting the pieces back together, he said, but are doing well.

“If you were to drive through St Helena now, you would be shocked to know there was a flood.”

Kelly Village/Warrenville councillor Samuel Sankar told Newsday he partnered with Habitat for Humanity and met his constituents on Tuesday to distribute cleaning supplies, including mops, buckets, bleach, and sanitisers.

Sankar was accompanied by Sieunarine Coosal of Coosal Group of Companies and chairman of the Capital Campaign Cabinet for Habitat for Humanity. He said they met residents to look at their housing needs and make assessments to provide structural support.


"St Helena residents still cleaning homes after last week’s floods"

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