Chief Sec: THA to provide temporary accommodation for five families

A tree came crashing down on a house in Les Coteaux on July 1. - Photo courtesy Visual Styles
A tree came crashing down on a house in Les Coteaux on July 1. - Photo courtesy Visual Styles

CHIEF Secretary Farley Augustine says the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will provide temporary housing for five distressed families who sought refuge at a shelter before the passage of Hurricane Beryl in Tobago on July 1.

He said they were among 145 people who were accommodated at some 16 shelters across the island during the hurricane.

“Of the 145 people, we are currently treating with five families who have unique circumstances and require, beyond the initial shelter, that we provide lodging for them during the course of the night over the next 72 hours and perhaps beyond, based on the state of their homes,” Augustine said at a news conference at Fairfield Complex, Bacolet.

Augustine, who was accompanied by Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) director Allan Stewart, said he was extremely grateful that Beryl did not cause widespread destruction across the island as had been anticipated.

In its wake, Augustine said 102 reports of damage had been received across 24 villages, the majority of which were  related either to dislodged roofs or fallen trees.

But those reports are likely to increase by about 50 per cent in the ensuing days.

“We have, to date, at least 11 fallen trees on houses based on reports that we have, and generally we have 30 roof-related reports.”

Augustine, who said Tobago is no longer in a state of emergency, also announced that all schools, public and private, will reopen on july 2.

“Schools will be reopened, except for Ebenezer Methodist, that had part of its roof blown off during the course of the hurricane.”

All THA employees, he said, are also expected to report for work.

Augustine said during the hurricane, up until 2 pm on July 1, Scarborough General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department saw three individuals who sought medical treatment and the Roxborough Hospital attended to just two patients.

He added there are 66 patients currently at Scarborough Hospital and three at Roxborough.

Hospitals and health centres are expected to resume regular service today. PTSC buses will also resume normal service.

Augustine said although the worst of the hurricane had passed, the Tobago Emergency Operations Centre will remain partially activated.

“The volunteers that are assigned here and the short-term employees will continue to work around the clock, while other stakeholders are allowed to demobilise and leave. But they will continue to take your reports, because we expect that some folks didn’t make a report during the event.

“Some folks wait until last minute. Some folks attempted to fix the problem themselves, and then when they figured out that they could not fix the problem themselves, they are now reporting it to TEMA. So we expect reports to keep rolling in.”

He said the THA will also embark on a roof-repair drive with the help of the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development and the TT Defence Force.

Augustine warned that landslides are still possible, as the earth is still saturated in areas so prone.

“Pay attention to areas where houses are waterlogged where there is the absence of guttering and water might have seeped constantly into the foundation. There is the possibility that some of these homes can now be pushed off mountainsides.”

Stewart said the eastern end of the island received the brunt of the weather system in terms of the severity of the incidents.

He said as of 11 am on July 1, Beryl was some 65km east of Grenada.

“We think that it is all behind us now. But while we had anticipated rainfall to the extent of 150mm, we have not realised that level of rainfall as yet.”

Stewart said hazards included fallen trees, one incident of structural damage and several road blockages in Bloody Bay, Castara, Arnos Vale and other areas.

T&TEC received 34 reports of outages in 15 areas, including Les Coteaux, Friendsfield, Castara, Mt St George and Campbelton, Charlotteville.

Saying he was grateful there were no reports of injuries or fatalities, Stewart thanked all the stakeholders who assisted TEMA before and during Beryl’s passage.


"Chief Sec: THA to provide temporary accommodation for five families"

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