Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2014 Contents news
November 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Desperate residents of Mafeking Village
Mayaro have had to become their own first
responders, as there is no one to bring
food and other supplies through floodwa-
ters into the most-heavily-hit areas.
The Sunday Guardian visited the small
fishing village yesterday and spoke to several
residents who say even though help has
been forthcoming, they have had to carry
in supplies to their marooned families and
"The corporation bring hampers and
water but is we self carrying it to everybody,"
said Dale Mohammed, a 37-year-old resident
of Chrysostom Trace, Mafeking.
"Nothing can t go in there. Last night
(Friday) it had six feet of water by my house.
We swim to come out and we had a small
raft we carry in the stuff with."
"Is four of we doing everything, because
it have plenty sick people and little children
inside there who can t come out," said
Shameeka Joseph, one of Mohammed s
For the past two days Mohammed and
his neighbours have been surrounded by
floodwaters that came from the Ortoire
River, which broke its banks on Thursday
after overnight rainfall.
But they are just the tip of the iceberg,
as on every street corner there are about
ten people waiting for assistance. They are
the ones strong and brave enough to carry
supplies back to the others.
Hundred others remain marooned in their
homes and even though the water was
receding in some areas, villagers say rainfall
in Rio Claro or even Poole, will prolong their
"Once rain fall in Rio or Poole, all that water
does come pelting down here," said
Mohammed. "We can t even think about clean-
ing up right now, we only have to make sure
we could have something to eat and drink."
Chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro
Regional Corporation Hazarie Ramdeen,
who was in the area meeting with residents,
said the floods have affected more than 300
households in Mafeking.
"We are unable to reach most of them
on our own," said Ramdeen. "The coast
guard came too but it has mostly been vil-
lagers helping each other."
Ramdeen said the corporation is doing
all it could to assist, including providing
cooked meals, food hampers, mattressess
and bottled water.
"In every trace, there are a few of them
who take in the supplies to the others. They
really came together to help themselves and
everyone else in their areas," he said.
Representatives of MP Winston Gypsy
Peters, were visible in the area. They were
assisted by teams from the Ministry of the
People and Social Development in assessing
damage and registering residents for food
cards. •See Page A12
Marooned residents swim
through floods for help
Dale Mohammed ventured into waist-high floodwaters to demonstrate the severity of the situation facing residents at Chrysostom Trace
in Mafeking, Mayaro, yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Prospective PNM candidate for Mayaro/Rio
Claro, attorney-at-law Clarence Rambharat, yes-
terday appealed to the Office of Disaster Pre-
paredness and Management (ODPM) and the
Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation to step
up their response to the flooding crisis in the
constituency and make good on promises to help
residents over the next 24 hours.
Rambharat said his team had been on the ground
in Mayaro, Mafeking, Cedar Grove and parts of
Rio Claro for two days and despite assurances, the
response from state agencies with responsibility
for managing the disaster was disappointing.
"Mafeking and Cedar Grove are the worst-affect-
ed areas and residents did not receive ODPM sup-
plies until about 2 o clock this afternoon, two days
after the flooding. And I watched in amazement
as the ODPM brought limited supplies for a com-
munity of hundreds of residents. I also saw an
ODPM container head up to Mayaro and remain
sealed for the evening," he said.
"Initially, I heard the regional corporation had
no funds available. But they authorised our team
to take supplies on credit at nearby supermarkets.
Chairman Hazarie Ramdeen got to Mafeking close
to midday on Friday and supplies arrived around
3:30 pm, once again in inadequate amounts.
"I was happy to see the chairman riding in a
truck transporting residents to safe ground. But
it s unacceptable that the agencies distributed dis-
posable cups and plates, garbage bags, toilet paper
and packs of biscuits instead of much-needed
canned food and medication.
"It s a crisis in some parts of the constituency,
and to make matters worse, there s been no sign
of the Member of Parliament Winston Gypsy
Peters," Rambharat said.
Many parts of Mayaro, Mafeking and Rio Claro
remain under water after persistent rainfall over
the past few days caused the Ortoire River to surge
over its banks. On Friday, Rambharat joined coun-
cillors for the area Kyron James and Andy Maharaj,
as well as aldermen Hamil Hosein and Elitha Bessor,
on an exercise to evacuate residents with disabilities
and bring supplies to others still trapped in their
homes, but the effort was hindered by the slow
response of disaster management agencies.
"The flooding is unlike anything I have seen in
the area for years. Entire homes in Mafeking are
covered in water. We have not been able to venture
into Cedar Grove.
"The Coast Guard helped, but we are in desperate
need of sandbags, mattresses, drinking water and
canned food and medication for children and adults.
I am asking the ODPM and the Corporation to do
more for us."
to flood crisis
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