Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 10th 2016 Contents news A13
Saturday, December 10, 2016 guardian.co.tt
The mother of an eight-
year-old girl suffering from
Hirschsprung's disease is appeal-
ing to the public for assistance in
raising $40,000 for the child's trav-
el to Colombia for surgery.
lic as the
20 but she
been able to raise any funds on her own.
According to the US National Library
of Medicine, Hirschsprung disease is a
blockage of the large intestine. It oc-
curs due to poor muscle movement in
the bowel. It is a congenital condition,
which means it is present from birth.
In an interview on Tuesday, White
said Serenity was only diagnosed in
January 2015 as she said local doctors
told her the child's bowels just needed
"At age two and a half to three years
I asked the doctors, can you do the test
for Hirschsprung's because I wanted to
know what was wrong with my child
and I was doing a lot of research online
and the symptoms seemed to be the
same," White said. "The doctor turned
and tell me the test too expensive and
this might just be her cycle, just put
her in the toilet with a magazine and
everyday for 15 minutes to train her
When Serenity's problems persisted,
White was finally able to persuade doc-
tors to do a biopsy in October, 2014.
Serenity was diagnosed in January
White is currently unemployed as
she has put her small catering busi-
ness aside so she can care for Serenity
full time. Serenity cannot go to school
as she has no control over her bowels
and is receiving some home schooling.
In August 2016, a desperate White
reached out to Hope of A Miracle Foun-
dation and in October, she was told
Serenity was accepted and her surgery
scheduled for December.
The foundation has agreed to pay
for the procedure to remove a part of
Serenity's intestines. But White still
needs assistance to pay for travel and
"I just want her to be able to have
a normal life, she cries all the time
and asks me why she isn't like other
children, she's in a lot of pain and this
would make all the difference in her
White also plans to start an associa-
tion for parents and children suffering
from Hirschsprung's in T&T as she says
there are currently no support groups
for this disease.
Anyone wishing to assist Serenity can
donate to the First Citizen's Account
#2143721 or contact the T&T Guardian
at 225-4GML (4465) extension 6104.
Rural Development and Local Government Minister Ka-
zim Hosein and chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional
corporation, Terry Rondon, are admitting there is need for a
"proper building policy in rural areas and more particularly
Toco, Matelot and Grand Riviere," areas which are annually
affected by heavy rains and winds.
The communities suffered for yet another time this week as heavy
winds and rains pounded the areas leaving dozens of landslips,
homes covered in slush and mud and crops destroyed.
Hosein, who along with Works Minister Rohan Sinananundertook
an aerial tour of the affected areas, said a solution must be found
to the perennial problem.
He admitted it would not be easy, but he said they had to try.
Hosein said while on the aerial tour he was "shocked" by the
devastation which he saw. He said, "When we were going over
the mountain, we saw the earth and there was no greenery; that
is to tell you how hard the rain fell. The gravel was coming down;
it was scary to know the downpour was so heavy. We saw dozens
of landslides from the air."
Following the aerial tour, he said he subsequently returned to
Toco, where he spent the day last week Friday. Hosein said he or-
ganised food, water and building materials for residents, but it was
difficult to drive through because of the landslips.
"Even the T&TEC trucks were having difficulty getting into some
of the areas," he said.
Hosein said it was clear that these communities which suf-
fered devastation annually needed more than temporary
assistance. He said: "We have a Rural Development Team
and I have discussed with the permanent secretary that
I want the team to meet with the chairman and mem-
bers of Sangre Grande Regional Corporation,
members of the community, religious bodies,
the schools, the fisher-folk ,we have to sit
down and discuss solutions."
From the aerial tour of the area he said
they noticed that "people have built
houses on the hills and river banks. It
is clear that building codes in these areas
are not what they should be. We need
to address that. The unfortunate thing
is that people have their homes already
but we have to educate them about the
dangers in how they are building."
He added: "When they build a house on
a river bank, the rivers invade their homes
when the rains come, slush from the hills and
rivers invade their homes and they are filled with
slush and mud. It is a dangerous place to live, but
people have houses already. It will always be like that
unless we can get people to think differently, that area
is prone to disaster," he said.
Rondon agreed. He said: "We have to have a build-
ing policy in rural areas because it is very hard on us." As
councillor for the area he said, he would get serious on the
issue in January.
"It will be a priority in the New Year we have to go out and
educate the people," he said.
Rondon admitted that "this is a disaster prone area because we
are located between two mountains."
He added: "Year after year it is getting worse. We did drainage, but
when they cut into the mountains it cut off the drainage. Right now,
I estimate the damage and losses to be in the region of two million
dollars or more, because is is not just homes and personal items, it is
food crops, boats, engines, nets," he said.
"So why are people building homes on the mountains and so close
to the rivers? In the dry season it is beautiful. But when the rains come
and the river mouth close mud and slush gushes into homes. In one
case, a man in Toco can't live in his house again."
Asked how people who built on the mountainsides and the river
banks got water and electricity, Rondon admitted he intervened on
their behalf to help them, but he said ,"I, too, have to stop helping
them. I will also tell the building inspectors to issue a no cause notice
to them so they can't build."
Rondon is lobbying for a disaster centre that can quickly mobilise
to get tractors and other equipment into affected areas."
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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