Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2013 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 25, 2013
MP reflects on inaction by
MP for Diego Martin Central
Dr Amery Browne reflected on
another year of floods in his
"During this Christmas
season, while many people are
preparing to celebrate, there
are still families working hard
to put their lives back
together," he said by phone.
He called on relevant
authorities to do their jobs
"This includes thorough
cleaning of watercourses,
from the source straight down
to the Gulf of Paria. It also
means improving drainage
infrastructure in several areas.
It includes deepening and
widening of several rivers and
drains, and a number of other
strategic steps that have
already been conveyed to
relevant agencies in writing."
He commented on the
need for some form of
counselling for traumatised
residents, like Butler.
"That is a discipline that
does need to be included in
our disaster response
protocol," he said.
Browne expressed his
gratitude toward private
citizens and organisations
that helped bring relief and
comfort to flood victims this
"The entire community is
praying and hoping for a
better 2014, especially with
respect to flood mitigation."
Rain on the brain
David Butler, 68, of La Estancia
Road, said he was spared in
September, which meant only his
walls crumbled, and he paid more
than $100,000 to have them rebuilt.
But floods in August a year before
left their mark on Butler for a long
time, and not just on his property. He
became fearful of rain, to the point
where he needed to see a
psychologist, because I wouldn't leave
my house. As soon as I hear or see
rain, I wouldn't leave," he admitted,
while chatting with the T&T Guardian
in front of his home.
Butler was busy doing Christmas
cleaning around his yard, and said he
even though he considered himself
lucky, as the inside of his home was
not damaged in September, it caused
him immense anxiety.
"I was up. I couldn't sleep."
He explained the behaviour as
strange, since even if he stayed put,
there was nothing he could do to
control the flood waters from coming
"If rain set up, I don't go out. I can't
do anything. But still, I can't leave."
He said after several counselling
sessions, he was a bit better and
attributed a lot of his stress to living
alone at the time.
"Having to go through losing so
much on your own, I don't wish it on
anybody. You feel helpless."
When the T&T Guardian interviewed
Oba Francois at the Diego Martin Com-
munity Centre two days later, he was
in good spirits, happy his five daughters
and wife were safe.
Getting a furnished Housing Devel-
opment Corporation (HDC) house in
Oropune added to his relief, as the family
moved in on September 16, three days
after being evacuated. Three months
later, the Francois family is still enjoying
their HDC home, and Francois, who
works in west Trinidad as a welder, was
trying to save up money to buy a car.
"So far it s been nice. I like the area,"
he said. His wife Keisha Hinds was still
unable to work, as she has to stay home
to care for their six-month old baby
She said money was very tight
because she couldn t work.
"It kind of hard. We taking it slow.
It s far from Port-of-Spain to get to
work," she said.
When asked how Christmas was
shaping up, Hinds repeated: "Things
kind of hard."
Her mother lent them a small Christ-
mas tree, but Hinds said gifts for her
12, 11, five, three, two and six-month-
old daughters will be minimal.
She said they would accept "any-
thing" that would help her daughters.
"It s for the children to make them
happy. It s not for me," Hinds said.
She asked for clothes and shoes.
Francois in good spirits,
happy for family's safety
FLOOD SURVIVORS from Page B1
FLASHBACK: Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne, left, speaks to Covigne Road, Diego Martin
resident Oba Francois, after he lost his home to floods on September 15. The Francois family stayed
at the Diego Martin Community Centre for two nights and then moved into a home from the HDC in
Oropune, Piarco. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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