Coastal erosion takes house in T&T’s Cedros

Bamboo Village residents who saved some of their household possessions wait to be evacuated on Monday.Massive coastal erosion destroyed a house and is threatening three others in the community.

(Trinidad Guardian) Five families from Bamboo Village, Cedros, had to be evacuated on Monday evening, after massive coastal erosion caused a house to fall into the sea. Three homes belonging to Leroy Joseph, Deomatie Mohammed and another resident were also on the brink of collapse.

About 400 metres of the Bamboo Village Extension Road collapsed into the Columbus Bay during Monday’s incident. Electricity poles were also torn down, rendering the village without power and throwing them into darkness at nightfall and water lines were also dislodged.

Describing the area as a disaster zone last night, Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh said he saw the houses being swallowed by the sea while residents scrambled to save their possessions. He said residents contacted him at about 2.30 pm when they felt their homes shaking.

“We saw cracks on the houses and on the road and I advised them to pack up their belongings. Two hours later, half of the house started slipping away before our eyes,” Teelucksingh said.

The home’s owner, Chamion Gunness, broke down in tears after seeing all her belongings disappear.

Some 20 people were evacuated to the Cedros Community Centre and up to 7 pm there was still no electricity in the area. There was sense of desperation and hopelessness as the residents weighed their futures and others in the community considered whether the disaster area could widen.

One resident said none of the disaster agencies had responded up to 6.40 pm, some two hours after the massive erosion tore apart the village.

“When the first slide took place we didn’t know what to do. We had to scramble to save half of our belongings,” a resident said.

Siparia Regional Corporation Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, who was still liaising with various state agencies to get help last night, expressed disappointment in the lack of an earlier response to the villagers’ plight. He said the corporation had to borrow disaster relief from nearby corporations to assist the victims.

Cedros is located below sea level and residents said they believe the recent earthquakes could have exacerbated the erosion.

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