Millions of dollars worth in surgical equipment including an anesthetic machine and other medical equipment, furniture, kitchen appliances, toys and medical records were destroyed in the flood waters.
In addition to tomorrow’s surgeries, classes, clinics and therapy sessions for about 45 resident differently-abled children, who are between the ages of four and 17 years, have been cancelled indefinitely.
Luckily, for the children, many of them had been taken by their respective family members for the weekend, at the time of the floods. Only ten of them remained on the compound. These ten had to be rescued from the raging flood waters on Saturday at about 3 pm by members of the TT Fire Service.
However, three of them were moved out of the facility while the remaining seven were temporarily being housed in the school building. Facilities manager and registered nurse Sister June Charles along with the Home’s Physiotherapist Angela Murphy expressed frustration over the flooding.
“We are overwhelmed. The entire place was covered in three feet of water. We do not know what to do again. This is the sixth time in ten years that we have been hit by severe flooding. Just last October there was flooding and a very sensitive machine in the surgery theatre was damaged. That cost over $300,000 to repair. That same machine is once again damaged,” Murphy said.
“Also, we cannot have surgeries, clinics, schooling and therapy for the children. We cannot even house them as we usually would. We have asked for their families to keep them until further notice. We were very lucky too that the flooding occurred in the late afternoon and not in the night during the week when the children are usually here. It could have been a bigger disaster,” Charles said.
Charles said that the Home, which is Government funded reached the differently abled from not only TT but regionally, including Grenada. Board member Dennis Harripersad told Newsday that they have sent several letters to the relevant authorities, including the Port-of-Spain City Corporation (PoSCC) City Engineering Department and the Ministry of Works and Transport.
“We have written several letters and yet we have gotten no positive response or any sort of assistance from no one. About two months ago we were visited by certain officials and up to now nothing was heard or done after that. This flooding is far worst than last year’s and we have suffered losses into the millions,” Charles said.
“I believe that the water comes from Ariapita Avenue. Also to the back of the Home there is a river that flows into the sea and of course when the tide is high that can contribute to the flooding.
“From the Avenue to the Home, water can rise from the highest part, which is about ten feet to the lowest part, which is about three feet. Some sort of remedial works need to be done immediately before we are hit again and it is just the beginning of the rainy season,” Harripersad added.
Yesterday, members of staff began clean up operations from about sunrise. They were assisted by workers from the Ministry of Local Government — CEPEP, Office of Disaster Preparedness Management, PoSCC and other volunteers.
At about 11.30 am Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh along with a team from the ministry toured the compound. At the end of the tour, Ramadharsingh said a committee will be “put together” to carry out evaluations, assessments and short term and long term remedial measures.
“I will meet with members of the board and management at about 1 pm tomorrow at the ministry’s office. In the interim, we will put together a committee and invite representatives from other ministries who may have interest in this. In tomorrow’s meeting, I hope to have some sense of figures in terms of assets damaged. We will organise counselling for staff and food hampers,” Ramadharsingh said.