Torrential rains caused by the passage of a Tropical wave over T&T triggered flooding in the Los Bajos and Erin region yesterday.
More than 100 residents suffered extensive damage to crops, livestock and household articles.
The worse hit areas were Beach Road, Palo Seco; Lamorrel Trace, #4 Road, #7 Road and several areas on the SS Erin Road near Los Bajos and Erin.
A tributary linking Number 9 Village to Erin, which runs behind an electrical shop belonging to Radesh Rampersad, broke its banks. The force of the water broke down a wall behind the shop.
Owner Radesh Rampersad said all of his electrical equipment for damaged.
“I am so upset right now because my expensive compressor, battery chargers, drills and other equipment got damaged by the water,” Rampersad said. He added that last November he made complaints to the MP for the area Nicole Olivierre but nothing was done to dredge the river.
“The wall fell because of the amount of water that came from the back. It was over four feet and it brought all kinds of rubbish into the shop,” Rampersad said. He added that only recently he took a loan from a money lender to buy equipment after he got a contract with Massy Energies.
Chairman of the Palo Seco/Erin Justice Committee Victor Roberts, who visited the area, said the floods were caused by poor drainage and a lack of preparation by the Ministry of Works to dredge the Los Iros River.
“I have been on the ground since 6 am and it is very sad to see so many residents suffering. Right now people cannot get out of their homes,” he added.
Roberts said the Los Iros River had not been completely dredged since 1995.
“The river was supposed to be about 22 feet wide but in some places, it closed up to about 4 feet wide. There are big trees growing in the river. The Ministry has done some work in a few places but it is not enough. The water cannot flow from the river into the sea so it is filling the residential communities,” Roberts added.
A source at the Ministry of Works said works were done on the Number 9 River from the Los Iros Bridge to Erin. Cleaning was also done from Los Bajos to Madoosingh Bridge.
Meanwhile, floods were also seen around the Palo Seco Secondary School. Parents who had to return textbooks today were unable to enter the school as the floodwaters were too high.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Olivierre said she has been touring the affected areas.
“I have gone to Number 9 Road and Dally Village, Los Bajos. First responder agencies have been on site from early and we are happy to see that the water is subsiding rapidly,” Olivierre said.
Asked what kind of assistance could be given to the residents, Olivierre said once an assessment is done, assistance will be given. She also said some dredging had been done on the rivers in the area.
Asked whether the dredging work was enough, Olivierre responded, “I don’t want to make a judgement on that.”
The Met Office has put T&T on an Adverse Weather Alert #1 —Yellow Level until 2 pm today. The Met Office has also warned there is a high possibility of landslides or landslips along the Northern Range.
- by Radhica De Silva