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Saturday 16 February 2019
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Matelot settling down after rainfall havoc

WITH electricity restored, truck borne water distributed and supplies provided residents of rain-ravaged Matelot should return to some level of normalcy by early this week, said CEO of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) Dr Stephen Ramroop.

Speaking yesterday in a telephone interview Ramroop said that “things are good” and “everybody settled down”. He reported that residents have received power, truck borne water, supplies and yesterday morning social services conduced assessments.

“They should be back to some level of normalcy next week, Monday or Tuesday,” he said.

Ramroop explained that then they will look at medium and long term and assist people who lost appliances like fridges and stoves. He said that there are still roads that need fixing and bridge repairs to be done. “All in all I am very pleased with the work of all the authorities,” he said.

Ramroop pointed out that they provided assistance within 72 hours while in other countries it takes weeks.

“I must commend the people of the area and all the authorities who came and gave assistance,” he added.

On Wednesday, torrential rainfall from the previous night and all day triggered massive flooding, sea swells and landslides trapping thousands who live in the communities. Sangre Grande Regional Corporation chairman Terry Rondon in a media interview said that about 1,000 people were affected by the disaster which was caused by just two hours of rain.

Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds informed Sunday Newsday that by midnight Friday electricity was restored by the entire area; it had been restored up to Grande Riviere three days ago.

He said the Water and Sewerage Authority was still in the process of reconnecting all the lines and had established a base to provide truckborne water. He reported that by yesterday a bailey bridge should have installed and once completed they can restore lines to the other side and carry truck borne lines.

Defence Force Senior Public Affairs Officer Lt Cmdr Kirk Jean-Baptiste reported that the First Engineer battalion of the TT Regiment, other arms of Regiment and Air Guard are directly involved and continue to work alongside ODPM, Ministry of Works, Police Service, Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, WASA and the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission.

“A combined effort,” he added.

He said the road works in conjunction with the Works Ministry and the regional corporation will continue until the situation is resolved. He pointed out that the movement of supplies continue and distribution remains with councillor and member of Parliament.

“We are doing our part to ensure relief is brought to everybody eventually,” he added.

Jean-Baptiste stressed however that it is a “heavy task”.

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