CHIEF Secretary Farley Augustine has warned Tobago to prepare adequately as the island is “at the mercy” of climate change.
He was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, after heavy rain triggered flooding and landslides in several areas across the island.
Augustine said he had instructed his area representatives to be on the ground on Thursday in their districts to assess the damage. He said how Tobago responds to these natural disasters is what is important.
“There’s very little we can do as an island community to (avoid) this kind of impact from this kind of rainfall – this excessive. We have high tides and spring tides; it is understandable we will have flooding in some areas. However, how we respond to it is important.
“As a small island community, we are at the mercy of whatever climate change throws at us. We are to expect, even during this season, higher frequency of storms, much more ferocious storms, heavier rainfall during the rainy season – and when the dry season comes, even drier seasons. What is important is that as a community we are able to respond efficiently and effectively.”
Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) director Allan Stewart warned Tobagonians to not become complacent, as rain associated with the tropical wave was expected to affect the island up until Friday.
“This is not yet over,” Stewart said. “There is a strong possibility that there will be additional land slippage. There is slope instability as a result of incessant rainfall.”
The bad weather on Wednesday led to the relocation of three families from danger at their homes in Cradley, Delaford and Bacolet.
Schools and public offices within the THA across the island were dismissed early. Schoolchildren were sent home at 1 pm.
Families affected by the adverse conditions were advised to contact 211 Call Centre or TEMA at 660-7489.
Stewart said TEMA received 86 reports on Wednesday – 57 per cent for landslides and 31 per cent for flooding.
In Scarborough, watercourses alongside the Port Mall on Milford Road and near Crooks River Mall spilled onto the road, forcing several businesses to close early.
Flooding was also reported at the Tobago Cold Storage & Warehouse Facility and in parts of Canaan, Bon Accord and Crown Point.
TEMA reported that the road at Stonehaven Bay, Black Rock, was blocked with bamboo and debris and completely impassable. Drivers were advised to seek alternative routes.
The heavy rain also triggered landslides in Mason Hall on the Northside Road, near Sandy River, and on Culloden Bay Road, Golden Lane. TEMA said it had also received a report of a fallen tree at Sawmill Road, Mt St George.