Chief Executive Officer of the ODPM, Dr Stephen Ramroop, said while the office, which worked closely with the Meteorological Office of TT, sent out regular bulletins alerting the public about impending bad weather, it was up to citizens to make necessary arrangements to secure themselves and their property.
“We don’t just put out the bulletins and when there is flooding we give you a hamper and a pamper, that’s not what it’s all about.
It’s about you as a population making the necessary arrangement for the types of alerts that we are giving you.
We work very closely with the Met Office and the municipalities, the Ministry of Works, and the Fire Services,” Ramroop told Newsday, yesterday, after parts of the country were hit with heavy rains for the better part of the early morning to mid-afternoon.
Ramroop said citizens had to remain vigilant and proceed with caution on the nation’s roads, adding that one or two inches of water could be very dangerous to motorists.
Ramroop said it was normal to have rising waters in areas where flooding was common.
Yesterday’s heavy rainfall was caused by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), “a well known mistress to inclement weather.” “We advise people to be careful on the roadways, and persons who are prone to flooding, listen to the Met Office and their bulletins. Take precautions, go outside, make sure your drains are clean, put away your stuff that is low lying, check your electrical plugs, especially where children are plugging in items like iPads and so on, and where there are plugs that are close to the ground where there is water.
“We don’t just put out these bulletins and say fine.We put it out because we want the population to understand that there are certain things that they have to do when we put out the bulletins,” Ramroop said.
Ramrop said the alert system had been raised in TT, but only to get the populace to be more vigilant.
“We will tell you what to do...it’s the rainy season, we know we are in a drought period also. We are having this ITCZ which is a phenomenon which is very common within new climate change variability which we are seeing all over the globe,” he said.
Ramroop said while the country needed the water, too much at one time would create problems.
“Because of the current drought problem, when the water falls heavily there is not much time for it to soak into the soil, so what you have is the water runs off very quickly and that leads to flooding. It is really a question of taking the necessary precautions, but also storing all that lovely water that we are getting now.
“People have to get into the habit of listening to the news and having water storage mechanisms and water storage agencies have a lot of receptacles for storing water. We would appreciate it if people go on to their website and try to harvest the water because water is going to become very precious in the next three years,” Ramroop warned.
With the latest phenomenon of trees falling throughout TT, where at least one person had succumbed to her injuries, Mary Bhagan; one person narrowly escaped injuries when a tree along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Valsayn, and several others at the Brian Lara Promenade and next to President’s House, St Clair, Ramroop said this was all due to climate change.
“We had indicated on the news recently, because of information that we got from climate scientists, TT would have average annual losses of trees increased over five times in the next five to ten years with respect to heavy rains due to climate change.
“What you are seeing has already been forecasted because of the El Nino effect and the drought. We told everybvody that last year, we told everybody that recently.We are telling people when they go to the hardwares, buy your hurricane straps, revise your galvanise sheetings, if you are making extensions go to the municipalities and get approvals. Let the building inspector come and inspect the attchments to your homes. You cannot attach anything to your homes without permission, so all of these things we need to hype up,” Ramroop said.