Penal, Barrackpore under water - residents beg for army's help

Pe­nal/Debe res­i­dents are beg­ging for as­sis­tance from the T&T Reg­i­ment now, as hun­dreds of res­i­dents re­main trapped in their homes by ris­ing flood wa­ters.

With the high tides ex­pect­ed be­tween 11 am to 6 pm, the Pe­nal/Debe Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion dis­as­ter man­age­ment team is work­ing fever­ish­ly to evac­u­ate res­i­dents from ar­eas in­clud­ing Boodoo Trace, Rag­bir Trace, Gopie Trace, Tul­sa Trace, Clarke Road, Rochard Road, Pe­nal Rock Road, Bar­rack­pore Trace and along the Rochard Dou­glas Road.

But some res­i­dents, in­clud­ing Sumatie Ram­per­sad, 96, are still re­luc­tant to move.

Chil­dren were tak­en out in dinghies from Ram­rat­tan Ma­haraj Trace, which was in­un­dat­ed when the Oropouche Riv­er broke its banks. The in­flat­able rafts were do­nat­ed by the US Em­bassy but the Pe­nal/Debe Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion chair­man Allen Sam­my said it was not enough to do res­cues.

He al­so slammed the wreck­er op­er­a­tors who were charg­ing up to $900 to pull strand­ed mo­torists from ris­ing flood wa­ters overnight. Sam­my said the op­er­a­tors were ex­ploit­ing in­no­cent cit­i­zens.

"They should be help­ing their fel­low vil­lagers not ex­ploit­ing them," Sam­my said.

He said a call was made to the army for as­sis­tance. Dis­as­ter shel­ters had al­ready been set up in the com­mu­ni­ties but Sam­my said peo­ple will be un­able to clean un­til the floods sub­side. With more rain pre­dict­ed for the week­end, Sam­my said the evac­u­a­tion was nec­es­sary for some ar­eas. He called on the Min­istry of Works and Agri­cul­ture to do a com­pre­hen­sive clear­ing of the wa­ter­cours­es.

Mean­while, res­i­dents were heard call­ing for sand­bags. At Bridge Cross Mall, plas­tic bags filled with sand were propped along the en­trances of the mall.

Ejaz Ali said, "We are up­set be­cause we think more bags could have been pro­vid­ed."

Nei­gal Ram­per­sad said it was im­pos­si­ble to be­gin to count the loss­es that res­i­dents suf­fered.

At Bar­rack­pore, trac­tors were seen up and down the road car­ry­ing strand­ed res­i­dents to safe­ty. Homes were sur­round­ed by wa­ter. Busi­ness­es were closed and all schools in the re­gion were closed ear­ly be­cause of poor turnout.

Guardian Me­dia will bring you more as this sto­ry un­folds.

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