(Trinidad Guardian) With an estimated 2,500 households severely affected by flooding up to yesterday, the unrelenting Inter-Tropical Conversion Zone over the past four days is proving to be even worse than Tropical Storm Bret.
Senior Disaster Coordinator in the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government Rishi Siew said because of this, line minister Kazim Hosein has called for all hands on deck. Siew said even the few regional corporations that were not affected were mandated to assist other regions with manpower and resources.
“This is actually worse than Tropical Storm Bret. The impact of this weather is severe and this is in fact what we would call a disaster that we have never seen before. The magnitude of the damage is still being assessed. Currently, I am heading down to Mayaro where the Defence Force is helping with their trucks to bring supplies to the people of Kernaham and Mafeking who have been affected badly.
“Minister Kazim Hosein is collaborating with entities to provide meals and supplies to affected people during this critical time.”
Siew said the Princes Town Regional Corporation was the hardest hit so far, with flooding in Moruga and Barrackpore. This was followed by the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation, especially lower Barrackpore, Suchit Trace, the SS Erin Road and Ramai Trace. Sangre Grande, Tunapuna/Piarco, San Juan/Laventille and the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo regions followed in that order.
Woodland residents brace for more rain
Almost 1,000 affected residents in Woodland were fearing more rain as they tried to put their already soiled furniture on higher grounds. Meanwhile, farmers undertook a dangerous operation to rescue the livestock that was trapped in the flood. In a daring mission, two farmers swam into a river to retrieve pigs that washed away. It was a task for others to pull their cows and bulls from the wetlands.
Zinool Khan said since Friday he has been trying to move his cattle because there was no grass in the flooded areas. Khan said because there was nowhere for the cattle to rest, they would have eventually got cramps in the cold water and die.
Allan Jaimungal had to take his cows home and cut grass for them to eat. Jaimungal said the water levels rose overnight and when he went to check on his cows, there was nowhere for them to go. As he told of the risk of snakes and scorpions attacking his cows in the flooded field, a caiman swarm close to the flooded road.
Chairman: Residents reluctant to seek shelter
Despite the adversity, residents showed survival skills, catching cascadura and crab along the flooded Pluck Road. For the second day, members of the Krishna Mandir in San Fernando brought warm food for the residents whose kitchens were filled with waist-high water.
Agreeing that the flooding was worst than TS Bret, Siparia Regional Corporation chairman Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh said it was difficult to get food into some areas. He said one villager had to walk through chest-high water at daybreak to get something to eat.
Ramadharsingh said clean water was not available and residents have been falling ill because of the unsanitary condition. He said he pleaded for residents to seek accommodation at the nearby community centres and school. However, people were reluctant to leave their homes. Shelters were being set up at the nearby San Francique Presbyterian Primary School and the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir.