Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2017 Contents news A5
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Oropune under water but
Grande spared major hit
& RHONDOR DOWLAT
Up to late last night chair-
man of the Tunapuna Regional
Corporation, Paul Leacock, was
distributing hampers to affected
residents at Oropune Gardens in
For most of the day yesterday,
most parts of the Housing Devel-
opment Corporations's (HDC) de-
velopment there was under several
metres of flood waters. About 100
homes were affected.
Speaking with the T&T Guard-
ian last evening, Leacock said the
flooding there seemed to have been
caused by a malfunctioning water
"It has a very large retention pond
and with the apparent malfunction
it made it difficult to pump out the
water as it was backing up."
He also disclosed that up to late
last night workers front the corpora-
tion were still trying to remove fallen
trees throughout the region, includ-
ing Lopinot, Caura and St Joseph.
"A lot of people had their roofs
blown away and we will be assist-
ing in repairs today with help from
the T&T Defence Force's soldiers.
Immediate relief such as tarpaulins
were given out," Leacock said.
He added that food hampers were
sponsored by Xtra Foods Supermar-
ket in Arima to aid affected residents
at Oropune Gardens.
Meanwhile, several roofs were
blown off by high winds and there
was flooding in Sangre Grande and
environs, leaving scores of people
marooned in their homes and major
roadways cut off to motorists.
But people who either lost roofs
or were flooded out were placed in
shelters and food and basic supplies
were provided to them through the
emergency relief efforts of the San-
gre Grande Regional Corporation.
SGRC chairman Terry Rondon
said a total of 25 houses had their
roofs blown off across the region.
At Valencia a family of 15, includ-
ing five children, got the shock of
their lives when their roof went
Godfrey Sandy, a senior citizen in
the household, told T&T Guardi-
an he was watching television in
the living room at 8 pm when he
heard a "ripping" sound and when
he looked up he saw the sky as his
roof was gone. "I was a bit confused
and shouted to others the storm is
here. My children came to me and
said relax," he said.
However, the children who were
awake began to scream and had to be
consoled by their parents and grand
mother. The family later went to rel-
atives to spend the night, but Sandy
said they were left traumatised.
The flooding caused many res-
idents to stay indoors and call in
emergencies at their workplaces.
Some residents said they lost all
their furniture and appliances in the
Rondon said this was the worst
flooding he had seen in Sangre
Grande and put some blame on con-
tractors who are developing lands
"We have cleared most of the wa-
ter courses in the region, but several
housing projects are going up in San-
gre Grande and development of the
land results in the blocking of some
water courses," he said.
Tarpaulins were given to some
home owners who lost roofs and
food, water and blankets were dis-
tributed to those in shelters.
Rondon thanked God that Matelot,
Grand Riviere and Toco were spared.
There were some hiccups early on
though as councillors complained
that resources for those affected, in-
cluding sandbags, were not readily
available. But after an emergency
meeting between the SGRC and
the ODPM reps the problems were
However, water continued to rise
in Sangre Grande up to last evening
and people were fearful that when
the tide rose they would have to
brace for more flooding.
President Agricultural Society of
T&T Dhano Sookoo also expressed
concern for farmers, noting thou-
sands of dollars in crops will be lost
to the flooding.
"What we will see happening
over the weeks is a rise in the cost
of market produce that will affect
all householders in Trinidad and
Tobago," she said.
60 homes lose
roofs in Central
Tropical Storm Bret left scores
of residents in Central in total dis-
tress yesterday, as many of them
lost almost everythingto the raging
remote villages of Caparo, Todd's
Road and Mamoral.
Over 60 reports of roofs being either
blown off or partially blown off were
lodgedat the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo
Regional Corporation's (CTTRC) Dis-
aster Management Unit.
An electricity pole fell across the road
way leading to Mamoral, causing the
entire village to be cut off. Commuters
accessing Tabaquite were also forced to
use alternative routes through Gaspa-
rillo and Rio Claro due to fallen trees
that blocked off all thoroughfare.Severe
flooding was also reported at Ravine
Sable and Las Lomas.
In Caparo, appliances, furniture,
beds, pets, livestock and crops were
washed away, with some items seen
floating down the streets.
Up to late last night many of them
were engaged in extensive clean-up
Magdeline "Maggie" Brewster, 63,
said: "I don't know if I should laugh
Brewster, of ChicklandRoad,Caparo,
has been operating a catering service at
her home for the past four years.Yester-
day morning, with rising flood waters,
Brewster said she looked on helplessly
to see her fridges, stoves and foodstuff
"I lost three fridges, two stoves and
a freezer. I estimate my overall losses
to be about $30,000," Brewster said.
She added that she did a lot of charity
catering for churches, neighbours and
"It is the worst experience for me. I
was away for 17 years and only returned
to T&T seven years ago," she said.
The Maharajs, from Santa Philli-
pa Road, Caparo, where flood waters
rose to a height of four feet, were also
counting their losses.
"We have lost thousands of dollars
worth in car parts that we brought in
to sell. The entire downstairs of our
home destroyed. New appliances we
had destroyed with the water. The flood
waters came up about three feet high
and in no time, from as early as 4 am,
the waters began coming up. We tried
to salvage things but it all happened
quickly," Deodath Maharaj said.
CTTRC councillor John Lezama
(Caparo/Mamoral)visited several areas
yesterday and expressed sadness over
what he witnessed.
"Until the waters subside there
isn't much we could do. But I am go-
ing around assessing the damages and
losses of the villagers. So far it is just
sad to see people's homes transformed
into ponds and they losing everything,"
Lezama said, adding he to suffered from
the floods as his office was under water.
CTTRC chairman, Henry Awong
said the disaster response machinery
kicked in only at an 80 per cent.
"In a disaster we would have liked a
100 per cent but the operations didn't
go as smoothly. Some things definitely
have to be reviewed with regards to the
readiness but thank God it wasn't so
severe as anticipated," Awong said.
Relief grants available says Govt
Grants to assist with rebuilding,
flood relief and replacement of
roofs, school supplies, uniforms
and appliances are available for
members of the public who suc-
cessfully apply for this, says Gov-
ernment Senate leader Franklin
Khan detailed the relief measures
in the Senate yesterday in reply to
Opposition questions on what was
available for the public who needed
help following the passage of tropi-
cal storm Bret on Monday night into
Khan complimented all agencies
on management of the storm issues,
which he said had shown a "level of
preparedness by Government."
"Government has taken an
'all-of-Government' approach on
the handling of the storm; thankfully
to the Lord, T&T was spared its full
wrath," he said.
Khan's colleague, Works Minister
Rohan Sinanan, told the media prior
to Senate that Government had been
better prepared for the storm.
"This was a serious storm and
everything was in place; also people
were very patriotic and came out to
work (in Works)," he said.
Khan said no lives had been lost
to Bret, to his knowledge. He had no
estimates of how many people had
been affected yet.
He said under the Disaster Manage-
ment Plan, regional corporations, as
first responders who collate the data,
are assessing damage and "hopefully
within the next 48 hours, will be in
a better positions to indicate (how
many are affected)."
The plan, Khan said, involved the
Office of Disaster Preparedness,
Works Ministry at infrastructural
level clearing water courses, roads
and other areas and Local Govern-
ment corporations as first responders.
For those affected by the storm,
he added: "There are a lot of social
services, including grants, for build-
ing from the Housing Ministry to a
maximum of $15,000 for those who
He noted there were also a series of
social development grants in various
Grants up to $20,000 are available
for minor house repairs such as roofs
which have been blown off or homes
which have been flooded out. Grants
up to $7,000 are available for house-
Similar grants were available to re-
place lost schoolbooks or uniforms
once applicants qualify, he added.
Replying to Opposition queries on
the level of preparedness by regional
corporations for rainy season flood-
ing, Khan thanked both PNM and
UNC-controlled corporations for
their work in Government's clean-
up campaign. He detailed work which
Khan said a more co-ordinated
approach was needed on drainage
and acknowledged issues with un-
planned development contributing
to flooding. He noted such devel-
opment, especially in the Northern
reaches of the East-West corridor,
Commercial caterer Magdeline "Maggie" Brewster, who lost over $30,000 in appliances and foodstuff following
flooding in Caparo yesterday. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
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