The trinidad Guardian / Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan says while he agrees there are irresponsible people who contribute to the flooding, he believes that the events experienced Wednesday into yesterday were caused because of the volume of rain that fell in the 60 hours.
“Let us be fair to everyone…the volume of rain that fell in the last 48 to 60 hours, I don’t’ think that the water channels, even though we cleared them, could have handled this volume of water,” Sinanan said.
“Yes there is some blame, like unplanned development in the past, but the phenomenal rainfall on a constant basis is what is contributing to the floods and landslips…the ground is water logged and hills water soaked,” he added.
Sinanan, who toured several flood-affected areas in Central and east Trinidad yesterday, said he was currently getting engineers to look at the downstream water flow rivers.
“There is unusual flooding in areas we have never seen before now, but it’s because of the active rainy season.”
Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, who toured Madras, Las Lomas and the Chin Chin Road areas yesterday, meanwhile described the flooding as the “worst ever.”
“This is worst than what I saw in South Trinidad in the aftermath of Storm Bret,” Hosein said.
He said he stayed in constant contact with the disaster management units in the 14 regional corporations yesterday and added that crews and equipment were mobilising to go out to assess areas and help in clean-up operations.
“Corporations have instructions to go out there and to ensure to see that all rivers and water courses are cleared. River mouths are blocked up, causing the flooding in the low lying areas and people to be marooned in their homes,” Hosein said.
“I have seen many people suffer losses and it’s very heart-breaking to see their homes under four feet of waters.”
However, despite the devastation caused in several parts of the country, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management did not seem to be part of the relief drive yesterday. The organisation’s management did not send out any reports on the flooding and their operatives were not in the field alongside regional corporation bodies. (See editorial on Page A18)
According to the T&T Meteorological Service, the riverine flood alert for Trinidad, due to rainfall activity associated with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over the last 36 hours, remains in effect. Reports from the Water Resources Agency also indicated that water levels in some of the nation’s major rivers as well as their tributaries, including the Caroni River, had reached threshold levels last evening. The flooding is expected to continue for the next 12 to 24 hours in areas already being affected.