We ready!

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan. File photo/Jeff Mayers
Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan. File photo/Jeff Mayers

STATE agencies say they are ready for bad weather conditions this week as the Met Office monitors developing weather patterns in the region.

Speaking at a media conference on Sunday, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said his ministry has been preparing since January, and should any disaster hit, the response team is on standby.

“We are quite prepared to handle the disaster, if any, in the coming days.”

He said desilting of rivers began in January and rivers have been able to take on increased volumes of water. The de-silting programme, he said, cost an estimated $50 million, covering some 400 projects. These were broken down into four categories with phase one being the most critical areas which were already completed.

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi advised the country to prepare for upcoming bad weather.

Asked about the closure of schools this week and the possibility of working from home, Al-Rawi said the latter was being left to employers.

The closure of schools, he said, was part of the ongoing monitoring since some schools are used as emergency shelters.

With this week being exam-week, he advised against keeping children at home but said if it becomes necessary, parents will be informed of any change in a timely manner.

Although the Met Office lifted its yellow-level alert for TT after the media briefing, Al-Rawi told Newsday nothing changed because of water logging, particularly in low lying areas, and the anticipation of further bad weather expected later this week.

Al-Rawi said three weather conditions triggered the Prime Minister to initiate the Government’s response team which included his ministry and the Ministries of Works and Transport, National Security and Public Utilities.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness Management (ODPM) will co-ordinate efforts with advice from the Met Office. The Met Office is currently monitoring a tropical wave in the Atlantic and one off the African coast.

On possible electricity outages, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said unlike the nationwide blackout in February, TTEC was fully equipped and ready to restore power in the shortest possible time.

He said the February blackout, caused by a fallen tree, was different from any eventualities that may occur as a result of bad weather. TTEC, he said, will respond to any difficulty on its distribution grid. For those living in “difficult terrain,” he said his ministry acquired amphibious equipment to access such communities.

Al -Rawi warned of possible landslides in some areas which, he said, will add to flooding.

“It is imperative that farmers and those living in low-lying areas accept the reality that with heavy rainfall there may be flooding. We have seen this year after year. We must always prepare for the worst and pray for the best and hope for the best,” he said Livestock farmers should ensure that their animals are protected, he advised.

He said the first port of call will be the closest of the 14 regional corporations and urged citizens to continue reporting their concerns.


"We ready!"

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