Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 21, 2017
havoc in South
RADHICA DE SILVA
Families in Moruga/Princes Town
were bracing for more backlash last
night after the rains came down in
the wake of the passage of Tropical
Judy Figaroo, a mother of five from
Moruga whose home collapsed under
the force of Bret, said she had nowhere
to rest her head as the emergency shel-
ters were not accessible because of ris-
ing flood waters.
While her neighbours hurriedly
tried to salvage her valuables from the
collapsed house, Figaroo said she was
uncertain about what to do.
Recalling the horror, Figaroo said
she was inside with her five children---
Stepan, 21, Kiel, 18, Soriah, 17, Danah,
14 and Mickila, ten---when there was
a loud crash as the force of the winds
toppled her house onto a nearby shed.
"We had no time to do anything
except run out of there. We went to a
neighbour's house," Figaroo said.
Along the Moruga Main Road, a
sprawling 60-year-old milkwood tree
collapsed on top of a house owned by
Anthony Sambury and a garage owned
by Sambury's neighbour Marva Cooper.
The trunk of the tree, which measured
about four feet in diameter, flattened
a GMC truck which was parked in the
Huge chunks of concrete were scat-
tered on the roadway and electricity
lines remained down when the T&T
Guardian visited around 2 pm.
Parts of Moruga remained without
electricity for most of the day.
Sambury's wife Rhonda Patterson
said when the tree fell she thought it
was a car crash.
"First I heard the creaking sound
and the crash. There was a bang as the
transformer blew. We had to run out
of the house with the two children,"
At White Trace, Moruga, Courtney
Hudlin and his family were still bail-
ing out water from inside their home.
Their muddy waterlogged couch stood
outside while his brand new refrigerator
floated in the flood waters.
Hudlin's neighbours, who stayed
home from work, helped him salvage
Nearby, along Poui Trace, St Mary's,
Andy Guerra tried to fix his roof which
blew off. His nephew Enrico Guerra said
when the floods came the water gushed
into his house, reaching up to the elec-
trical panel box.
"We took off the electricity supply.
There was a lot of water in the house
and now we are hoping that more rains
don't fall," Guerra said.
Natalie Patrice, from the Moruga
Poverty Reduction Centre, meanwhile
spent most of the day visiting the af-
"We went to Rock River, Basse Terre
and La Rufin where homes were wa-
terlogged and parts of the roofs blew
off," she said.
With houses still under water up to
late afternoon, Patrice and her team
distributed food hampers, dry cloth-
ing, sheets, baby diapers and wipes to
"It was sad to see so many people af-
fected. One man had to drag his refrig-
erator and stove out in the road. Trees
fell across the road at Basse Terre and
Penal Rock Road. At Edward Trace, one
house collapsed. They lost everything,"
Despite the hopelessness of some
families, some children used the floods
Tyler Jairam and his big brother Sean
were seen jetsking in the floods.
Up to 5 pm, hundreds of household-
ers from St Mary's to Marac remained
Meanwhile, the Water and Sewerage
Authority said several water treatment
plants remained down last night be-
cause of flooded river intakes and power
WASA said the plants are expected to
return to service in the coming hours
as river conditions normalise and the
power supply is restored at the various
22 roofs lost, 9 landslips in South
Wading through flood waters
in the dead of night, livestock
farmer Nathaniel Mungal made
a futile attempt to rescue his
animals as flood waters rose
rapidly in the Oropouche la-
goons after Tropical Storm Bret
passed over the island.
The flood waters caused by the
rains eventually overwhelmed
homes, killed livestock and de-
stroyed fields of produce, while the
winds associated with the severe
weather system blew off dozens
By the time Tropical Storm Bret
moved past the islands, 22 houses
in Princes Town, Moruga and Ta-
bleland had lost their roofs. Nine
landslips also occurred along the
Moruga Main Road, while two
houses were destroyed by fallen
Up to midday yesterday, parts
of Moruga, Williamsville and Bar-
rackpore had between five to seven
feet of water and dozens of people
were marooned in their homes.
Mungal, of Lalbeharry Trace,
Debe, was one of several livestock
farmers who were hard hit.
In an interview with the T&T
Guardian, Mungal said he lost two
calves (baby cows), a sow, a dozen
piglets, four goats, 30 ducks and
over a dozen broilers, valued in
total at over $25,000.
Bareback and frustrated, he
trudged through the pastures at
Lalbeharry Trace, Monkey Town,
around 8 am yesterday searching
for his lost animals and hoping they
were still alive.
Pointing to a pen where the
goats had drowned, Mungal said
the flooding was something he had
never seen in his life.
"Just before midnight I was
boarding up the pens, but when
the flood waters rose I had to come
out here and save the animals. It
was dark and when I thought I was
watching grass it was floods. The
waters had covered the pastures
and the two baby cows drowned,"
The piglets who escaped the
flood waters frolicked in the mud
and Mungal said shortly after dawn
when daylight came, the carcasses
of the dead animals could be seen
floating in the water.
"I had to throw away a bucket of
dead piglets," Mungal lamented.
Each piglet was worth $400.
Meanwhile, fields of produce
along Mussarap Trace, Kanhai
Trace, Oropouche River Road,
Papourie Road, Barrackpore Trace
and Rochard Douglas Road were
inundated by flood waters.
Joseph Mungroo was seen pick-
ing up fallen fig trees from his
estate when the T&T Guardian
arrived in his community.
Along Rochard Douglas Road,
farmer Shaheed Baksh hurriedly
tried to salvage bags of tomatoes
from his flooded greenhouse. But
he was not so fortunate as the
Oropouche River, which runs near
Mussarap Trace, broke its banks.
Run-off from the upper re-
gions of Moruga and Princes
Town gushed down through the
tributaries and rivers of the Oro-
pouche Basin before reaching out
to the Gordineau River at the Gulf
of Paria. Baksh said the floods took
several hours to reach Barrackpore
and when it did, it affected even
the high ground where his scorpion
peppers were planted.
Sunil Ramcharan showed off
scorpion pepper trees surround-
ed by water.
Chairman of the Naparima con-
stituency council Naz Mohammed
said it was the worst flooding ever
seen in 15 years. He said up to mid-
day yesterday people inside Cun-
jal Road, Rochard Douglas Road,
Cemetery Trace, Kanhai Road were
still stranded. He added, however,
that the box drains built on either
side of the roads alleviated much
of the flooding.
Contractors from the commu-
nity used backhoes voluntarily to
clear fallen trees and debris from
the streets while neighbours
pooled together to help the affected
residents rebuild their fallen roofs.
Bhagwandeen Samaroo, of St
Croix Road, Princes Town, said
he was monitoring the news when
the galvanize from his roof began
"We had to run out of the house
and stay downstairs because the
winds sent the galvanize flying,
knocking down the wires and
cutting off electricity," Samaroo
Neighbours came to his aid yes-
terday and assisted in clearing up
MP for Naparima Rodney Charles
said his disaster management teams
were out early pumping out wa-
ter from people's homes. He said
dozens of families from the Wil-
liamsville/Guaracara regions lost
thousands of dollars in household
furniture and appliances.
MP for Princes Town Barry
Padarath said seven houses lost
roofs in Princes Town and a mid-
day count showed 22 blown off in
the Moruga/Tableland and Princes
Town areas. RDS
Nathaniel Mungal stoops
over one of his dead
goats after it drowned
during Tropical Storm
Bret at Lalbeharry Trace,
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
flattened Farmers lose crops, livestock
There were 375 disruptions to
electricity supplies across the
country as a result of the im-
pact of tropical storm Bret, but
by late yesterday the Trinidad
and Tobago Electricity Com-
mission (T&TEC) had restored
power to 175 of the cases, with
a promise the remainder would
have been completed by mid-
night last night.
Public Utilities Minister Fitzger-
ald Hinds said throughout the day
yesterday, workers of both T&TEC
and the Water and Sewerage Au-
thority (WASA) had been doing
yeoman service to ensure power and
water supplies were normalised.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian via
phone, Hinds said he was "person-
ally satisfied that the institutions
under the ambit of Public Utilities,
as well as the Office of Disaster Pre-
paredness Management (ODPM)
and other agencies, were well pre-
pared" for Bret. But he said the true
level of preparedness was not put to
the test because "we were spared
the full impact of Bret."
While T&TEC crews were re-
pairing the 375 disruptions some of
which were created by fallen trees
and electricity poles, WASA crews
were dealing with "26 disruptive
events, including one burst main,
and water treatment plants and
booster stations which were af-
fected by disruption in electricity
WASA said several of the water
treatment plants were shut down
as a result of flooded river intakes
and power failures.
The authority expected that the
affected plants would have returned
to service as river conditions nor-
malise and the power supply was
restored at various locations.
T&TEC tackles 375 disruptions
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