One house collapsed in Dibe, St James.

The thunder showers, which the Piarco Metereological Office said were caused by an upper level trough, lasted for about two hours. Though the floods subsided by late afternoon, residents were assessing the damage and counting their losses in the aftermath.

Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, Anthony Sammy, declared Diego Martin Central, Maraval and Westmoorings emergency areas after seeing the destruction caused by the flooding. Other areas affected were Cocorite, St James, Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain and Petit Valley.

Sammy told Sunday Newsday that the Diego Martin Central Community Centre in Diamond Vale had been put on alert to provide temporary accommodation for those in need.

Landslides were reported in Dibe, Dundonald Hill, Upper Bournes Road, Hutton Road (St Ann’s), La Seiva/Morne Coco Road (Maraval) and Alyce Glen.

A number of families were affected by the floods, mud, slush and debris; and several cars floated away in the flood waters. A family of three were also marooned in their home in Petit Valley. (See page 4)

Electricity was also cut off in some of the affected areas.

Chief Executive Officer Office of the Disaster Preparedness and Management, Dr Stephen Ramroop, said following discussions with Sammy, the ODPM had enlisted first responders to assist in rendering immediate help. These included employees from the Ministry of Works, who were in the communities to assess the integrity of bridges and roadways, as well as the First Engineering Battalion of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF).

Soldiers were also on standby at Camp Ogden to assist should there have been more rains last evening, TTDF Public Relations Officer Captain Al Alexander said.

Members of the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service and the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) joined residents and other first responders in clearing debris off the road and in mopping up homes after the rains subsided and the waters receded, allowing vehicles the opportunity to pass along some roadways after long waits.

Port-of-Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing and a contingent from the corporation’s disaster management unit also toured the affected burgesses in the city, as well as the Princess Elizabeth Home in Woodbrook.

A flooded Western Main Road and other roads, and damage to the La Seiva Bridge in Maraval caused a traffic standstill for several hours. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service was asked to assist in traffic management on the Foreshore, the Western Main Road and the Saddle Road, Maraval, where scores of motorists spent hours in traffic gridlock.

Even the retaining wall of the Country Club in Maraval crumbled under yesterday’s devastating flood waters, along with retaining walls for a number of homes. A number of homes reportedly shifted from their foundations in the land slips, residents in Dibe reported.

Residents in Maraval and St James told Sunday Newsday that the Maraval and Dibe rivers overflowed their banks, which resulted in the flood waters as high as five and six feet in some places.

At Upper Simeon Road, Petit Valley, a mountain of mud and debris came down on a home in which the family of three was marooned.

By mid-afternoon, officials from the National Security Operations Centre had made available a helicopter to the ODPM and other officials to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of the affected areas.

Also visiting his constituency of Diego Martin Central was Member of Parliament Dr Amery Browne. He told Sunday Newsday that some 60 persons were affected in his constituency. Those most affected were in Upper Simeon Road, Alyce Glen and Union Road.

The Housing Development Corporation, Browne said, had promised to accommodate the family who was marooned in their Petit Valley home at its housing estate in Oropune, Piarco.

Reports out of the office of councillor for Glencoe, Goodwood and La Puerta, Rickey Garcia, yesterday, said three houses were slipping on hillsides of La Puerta, and a building was cracking at Scorpion Alley, Carenage.

Garcia’s office is seeking assistance from the National Self Help Commission to assist in building retaining walls.

Residents in La Puerta said the hillsides had been denuded of trees and that along with housing developments, were causing the landslides. They said they have never seen this kind of flood water coming down the hills.

Resident Sattie Ram said, “We would like the Government to assist in a tree planting exercise to help in the run-off of the water.”

There is no proper drainage on the hills, she said.

In Perseverance, Maraval, Garcia’s office reported at about 5.00 pm that a crew from the First Engineering Battalion was pulling three cars out of the river. The vehicles were washed into the river during the deluge.

Marylyn Pantin, of Eckle Avenue, Maraval, spoke of nine houses on her street that had been affected by flood waters from the Dibe River and mud and debris that came down from the hills.

One of Pantin’s neighbours, Richard Persad, said the wall at the back of his house had broken and water rushed into his house. He feared that he has lost all his electrical appliances — including a computer, fridge and washing machine, and furniture, including beds. Four persons lived in his home. Persad’s car also floated away with the flood waters.

While the area was without electricity, Persad said a water main burst on the road outside his home.

Allison Daniel-Thomas-Louis, of Long Circular, St James, reported that a house “higher up from where I live in Dibe, washed away”. Some of her neighbours, she said, lost everything. A neighbour’s car was also “gone with the flood”.

Yvonne Maikoo, of Upper Bournes Road, said the walls of three houses were broken down, causing mud and slush to enter the living rooms and bedrooms, making them uninhabitable. “From where I live,” she said, “there is one house that is now dangerously perched on a slope.”



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