Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 1st 2015 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 1, 2015
With the Met Office signalling
the start of the rainy season and
the trauma of last year s flash-
flooding devastation still raw,
residents of Diego Martin are
being assured that an early
warning system has been
deployed to give them sufficient
time to evacuate.
Chairman of the Diego Martin
Regional Corporation Daryl Smith
gave the assurance in an interview
with the T&T Guardian on Fri-
"We have put in place flood
early warning systems, installed
on high-tech poles in flood-prone
areas," said Smith.
"These poles have sensors that
will emit a high-pitched alarm
anytime water covers the sensor.
The current sensors are set to six
inches above the ground."
Smith said the sensors will
alert residents anytime in the day
or night and will also be pro-
grammed to send text messages
"Part of the alarm system is a
text alert, which means no matter
where you are, you will get a text
saying the area is about to flood
and you should take all measures
to get home and secure your pets,
or if you have elderly relatives or
children to get them out before
the water rises."
He said the corporation was
in the process of gathering data
from residents to put into its
Smith said since coming into
office in 2013, flood prevention
has been the corporation s top
"Since 2013, we embarked on
an all hands on deck programme,
where we bumped up the cleaning
crew from 70 to 200 people. We
have also been working with
WASA to raise pipes out the rivers
to stop debris from getting stuck
and piling up in the river."
He said that project was almost
80 per cent complete.
The corporation has also
embarked on a project to replant
trees in areas affected by bush fires
in the past years.
"In the past we had massive
bush fires and we have replanted
over 2,000 trees in those areas.
We also ensured there were fire
trails to help the fire service in
fighting fires. We had very few
bush fires this season."
The T&T Guardian also spoke
to chairman of the Mayaro/Rio
Claro Regional Corporation, Haz-
arie Ramdeen, who said the cor-
poration has been aggressively
cleaning drains in the area in
attempt to avoid a repeat of last
year s massive flood in the area.
"We have been de-silting drains,
aggressively cleaning the area and
all the watercourses," said
"We gave contracts to a number
of small contractors to ensure it
was done on time."
He said residents of Mafeking
and Mayaro who had refused to
be evacuated from their homes
last year are better prepared this
"I think they understand this
year that when the water starts to
rise in that way, that they need to
get out. Because even though we
had floods before, no one expected
However, even though he said
all shelters are prepared and fully
stocked in case of an emergency,
he was still cautious about the
wrath of Mother Nature.
"Nothing can stop the wrath of
Mother Nature, what we had last
year was a natural disaster. We
hope we will not see a repeat, but
if we get rain for five to six days
straight, we have to be prepared
Chairman of the Penal Debe
Regional Corporation, Premchand
Sookoo, also said his corporation
was ready for the 2015 rainy sea-
"We cleared and cleaned all
major watercourses and put all
preventative measures in place
already," said Sookoo.
"We looked at the areas that
were flooded in the past and tried
to treat those first, we are well
prepared in the event that we get
Sookoo said the corporation will
also be taking out full page ads in
all the daily newspapers to sensitise
residents on the location and avail-
ability of shelters.
Dancers from the Rajasthan district of India perform at the Divali Nagar,
Chaguanas, during Indian Arrival Day celebrations on Saturday.
PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
New flood warning
system for Diego
Coblentz Avenue will be closed
to traffic from today for three
months as work starts on the bridge
leading to St Ann s community.
Concerned residents of the St
Ann s Cascade Hololo Community
Group (StACH) met recently with
the Ministry of Works to discuss
concerns over the bridge project,
and traffic plans to reduce the antic-
And the parties reached an ami-
cable agreement. Work starts today
to demolish and reconstruct the
bridge, to make it wider. The bridge
is near the Carlton Savannah Hotel.
Some months ago, StACH had
been concerned about the state of
another bridge, the so-called Cas-
cade bridge, from St Ann s Road
into Cascade Road (just below Massy
Stores), which was so narrow it was
virtually a one-lane bridge.
The Ministry of Works has
advised pedestrians to use the
pedestrian bridge, while motorists
are being asked to use the newly
widened bridge along Cascade
Avenue and St Ann s Road inter-
section during the reconstruction
of the bridge.
In past weeks, at least one area
resident had been critical of the
much needed, but, in his opinion,
somewhat ill-planned bridge project.
In a post labelled: "Idiots Building
Bridges" on the StACH Facebook
page, he had written:
"St Ann s Rd Cascade Rd Bridge
is being widened. They are building
support walls inside the existing
walls of the bridge. This will limit
the flow capacity of water flow by
about 30 per cent plus. Presently
the area before this floods regularly
where the river breaks its banks with
about two-foot-plus of water and
debris. With this constriction, we
could see flooding with about 10 to
15 ft of water all into Moore Ave,
Fisher Ave, Sydneham Ave, and a
complete washing away of all build-
ings along the river itself.
Additionally, it will disrupt traffic
for days, if not longer, if the road
itself is washed away. Please let s
do it right the first time. Please bring
this to the attention of others."
Other residents aren t so sure that
drastic scenario will happen. They
welcome the project even though it
means three months of traffic woes.
"There are mixed views on it,"
said Johnson, "but we hope no
flooding will occur."
The repairs are much needed: the
bridge was bludgeoned by the 1993
St Ann s floods, and suffered much
abuse from the heavy equipment
and cement mixers driving there in
past years to build townhouse com-
The number drawn Friday
on Crime Watch was 188814.
If the number on at the back
of your Friday s Guardian
newspaper was 188814, you
have won $1,500 in cash.
You have until 3 pm today to
come to the Guardian head
office, Rodney Road, Endeavour,
Chaguanas with the newspaper
containing the winning number
and photo identification.
Keep your Saturday, Sunday
and today s Guardian newspa-
pers and tune into Crime Watch
today on CNC3 for the draw. If
the number drawn matches the
number at the back of any of
those Guardian papers, you have
won today s jackpot.
Work begins today on Coblentz bridge
The bridge leading to Coblentz Avenue, St Ann's, was closed off to traffic to
allow construction works, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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