Rain hits Divali celebrations in T&T

(Trinidad Guardian) Yesterday’s Divali Day celebrations were washed out for several families who were left marooned in their homes after flood waters inundated their houses and communities in several areas in South, North East and Central Trinidad.

Due to persistent rainfall across the country overnight into yesterday, several major water courses overflowed and there were also reports of landslides. Several families who lost appliances and farmers whose crops were destroyed could do very little to help themselves as the raging waters came.

Moruga/Tableland MP Dr Lovell Francis likened the situation in his constituency to when Tropical Storm Bret passed a few months ago, causing widespread flooding and destruction. Francis said just when it was felt the situation was improving yesterday, the rain intensified again.

“What was an improving situation an hour ago has gone off the rails. The rains are falling heavily again and the waters which were receding are again rising. Please stay indoors if you can. No one can enter La Rufin from the junction side…. at the moment the village is cut off,” Francis said in a Facebook post.

He later told T&T Guardian, “The flooding today brings back memories of when Tropical Storm Bret struck. The winds are just not as high and there is electricity.”

He said for the first time in 42 years there was flooding at Marac Village

“Some roads are impassable. I heard of a road collapsing,” he said.

However, he applauded a resident who used his backhoe to clear one of the roads.

“It would usually have rain for Divali, but I have never seen anything like this,” said Francis.

Councillor Brian Julien said several families at Sheldon Road were also affected and arrangements were being made to get mattresses and other supplies to them.

Resident Savitri Julien said it was the first time the floods were so bad. She said it began flooding around 7 am, with water gushing into her home.

“It was really high. My tank break up, I lost my water pump, two fridges and deep freeze, my grandchildren toys wash away in the flood. What I need right now is help. On a day like Divali day I cannot even cook something nice and relax. I have to throw away some of my groceries,” she said.

Several homes at Arena Road, Freeport, which is made up mostly of Hindu residents, were also flooded out. Resident Sharlene Rampersad, a former Guardian reporter, said almost every home in her community participated in Divali, but their celebrations would most likely be curtailed because of the level of flooding. She said the regional corporation’s Disaster Management Unit told them there was nothing they could do until the water recedes and no one from the Office of Disaster and Preparedness Management visited them although they were told of the situation. There were also reports of flooding at Penal, Ste Madeleine, Macaulay, Barrackpore, Sangre Grande, San Pedro, Chase Village, McBean Edinburgh and Montrose.

A release from the Met Office yesterday said the rains were associated with activity in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone and warned of the possibility of more flooding today due to swelling of river courses overnight.


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