Trinidad: Woman in labour trapped by 10-ft high water

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Trinidad Guardian– Sol­diers from the T&T De­fence Force are now strug­gling to evac­u­ate dozens of fam­i­lies from Green­vale Park, La Hor­quet­ta, af­ter floods as high at 10 feet cov­ered the com­mu­ni­ty.

A preg­nant woman who went in­to labour as flood­wa­ters rose around her home had is­sued an ur­gent ap­peal for help, prompt­ing a mas­sive res­cue op­er­a­tion to get her out of the floods. She re­mained uniden­ti­fied up to mo­ments ago. A near­by neigh­bour, Sarah Hamid, co­or­di­nat­ed the res­cue at Baltic Av­enue, Green­vale, along with mem­bers of the me­dia and the po­lice.

Res­cue teams used rope to guide the weary flood vic­tims to safe­ty. Every time a res­i­dent reached dry ground, the res­cue teams and re­lieved neigh­bours ap­plaud­ed.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Kaz­im Ho­sein said they were mak­ing every at­tempt to help the woman and save the life of her un­born ba­by. Ho­sein said teams from the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Unit led by Cap­tain Neville Wint were on the ground co­or­di­nat­ing res­cue ef­forts.

The min­istry’s head of the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Unit Jer­ry David con­firmed the floods had risen more than 10 feet, wash­ing away cars and reach­ing the roof of some hous­es.

Videos of res­i­dents wad­ing neck high in flood wa­ters with um­brel­las peek­ing out from the swirling wa­ters al­so cir­cu­lat­ed on so­cial me­dia. Many peo­ple could not reach home and had to stay with fam­i­ly and friends out of flood zones.

David said the floods were the re­sult of ad-hoc de­vel­op­ment.

“A lot of what is hap­pen­ing now is be­cause of con­struc­tion done in flood-prone ar­eas. Right now we have to adapt to what ex­ists and try to get peo­ple to safe­ty,” David said.

Res­i­dents from Plum Mi­tan and Biche al­so ex­pe­ri­enced the worst flood­ing ever seen.

Ho­sein said he planned to vis­it San­gre Grande in the morn­ing to bring re­lief to res­i­dents. The floods trig­gered loss­es which are yet to be es­ti­mat­ed but there has been no loss of hu­man life.

Dri­vers us­ing the Churchill Roo­sevelt High­way head­ing east have al­so opt­ed to park up in ar­eas not af­fect­ed by flood­ing to wait out.

Peo­ple ma­rooned in Grande

Res­i­dents in San­gre Grande and en­vi­rons were al­so ma­rooned in their homes with­out any as­sis­tance and work­ers who ei­ther left home for work or are try­ing to reach home are un­able to get their var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions. Peo­ple trav­el­ling to To­co were re­port­ed­ly sleep­ing on the bench­es pro­vid­ed at PTSC Bus Ter­mi­nal, as they were un­able to get to To­co be­cause of the Matu­ra bridge had over­flowed its bank, mak­ing it im­pass­able.

The Va­len­cia Stretch and the old Va­len­cia Road, which was an al­ter­na­tive road to get to Matu­ra, To­co and Matelot, has been flood­ed out.

In ad­di­tion to the Matu­ra Riv­er over­flow­ing its bank, the wa­ter lev­el is as high as four feet in some ar­eas, ma­roon­ing peo­ple tra­vers­ing the road­way and caus­ing traf­fic pile­ups.

San­gre Chiq­ui­to in al­so un­der wa­ter, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for ve­hi­cles to use the East­ern Main Road that takes mo­torist from San­gre Grande to Man­zanil­la/Ma­yaro. Taxi, maxi taxi and PH cars have forced to cease the route.

San­gre Grande Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion chair­man Ter­ry Ron­don said un­for­tu­nate­ly, he will not be able to help a lot of peo­ple overnight be­cause he was starved of re­sources. He knocked the Of­fice of Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness and Man­age­ment for once again not or­gan­is­ing be­fore the rains hit, not­ing there were no shel­ters for peo­ple to go to. He al­so slammed care­tak­ers of build­ings who re­fused to open their doors to help ma­rooned peo­ple.

“Imag­ine peo­ple are in dis­tress and care­tak­ers of these build­ings are re­fus­ing them to shel­ter those in need. We are help­less, as no sup­port is com­ing from the army to have these peo­ple ma­rooned in their homes re­moved. We just do not have the re­sources, I am ashamed,” Ron­don told the T&T Guardian.

Ron­don again called for a per­ma­nent dis­as­ter shel­ter fit­ted with all that is nec­es­sary to house those in time of dis­as­ter for his re­gion.

MP for To­co/San­gre Grande Glen­da Jen­nings-Smith, who was tour­ing flood­ed ar­eas, was al­so up­set when she learnt noth­ing was put in place for peo­ple who were flood­ed out. She was busy mak­ing sev­er­al calls to get as­sis­tance but all proved use­less as she could not or­gan­ise the help.

Ch­agua­nas was al­so flood­ed out along the Con­nec­tor Road, Chadee Lo­han Road, Crowne Trace, and the Ed­in­burgh 500 ar­eas af­ter the Cunu­pia Riv­er broke its banks.

Along Wel­come Road, Cunu­pia, res­i­dents were ma­rooned by the floods and the St He­le­na By­pass Road was im­pass­able.

T&T moved to Red Alert with a riv­er­ine flood warn­ing in ef­fect, es­pe­cial­ly with the high tide and con­tin­u­ing rain­fall.

Rain­fall is ex­pect­ed to con­tin­ue un­til Sun­day.

WASA forced to shut down plants

The Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Au­thor­i­ty mean­while last night ad­vised cus­tomers that heavy rain­fall over the past 48 hours had neg­a­tive­ly im­pact­ed the op­er­a­tion at some of its treat­ment plants across the coun­try. It said this was due to is­sues like tur­bid riv­er con­di­tions, clogged in­take screens and pow­er fail­ures.

In a re­lease, WASA said the af­fect­ed fa­cil­i­ties in­clude the Ca­roni plant, where pro­duc­tion has been re­duced from 75 mil­lion gal­lons dai­ly (mgd) to 55 mgd, while op­er­a­tion was stopped at the Tom­pire, Matu­ra, Hol­lis, Aripo, Quare, Gua­napo, Cau­ra, Lu­en­go & Naran­jo, Acono, Blan­chisseuse, Las Cuevas, and La Fil­lette treat­ment plants in Trinidad and the High­lands Road and Hills­bor­ough West plants in To­ba­go.

It said the ar­eas af­fect­ed by the dis­rup­tion which such ac­tiv­i­ty has caused were: San­ta Cruz, Bel­mont, Mor­vant, Cas­cade, St. James, Co­corite, Kel­ly, Ca­roni, Ch­agua­nas, Long­denville, Cou­va, Cara­pichaima, Clax­ton Bay, Gas­par­il­lo, Mara­bel­la, Pleas­antville, San Fer­nan­do, La Ro­maine, South Oropouche, Siparia, Debe, Pe­nal, La Brea,To­co, Saly­bia, Va­len­cia, Ari­ma, Tacarigua, St Joseph, Ma­son Hall and Ba­co­let.

The re­lease said the af­fect­ed fa­cil­i­ties are ex­pect­ed to re­turn to ser­vice when con­di­tions nor­malise at the var­i­ous lo­ca­tions. It ad­vised cus­tomers to man­age their wa­ter use ef­fi­cient­ly, as it may take up to 24 hours for the restora­tion of their sched­uled pipe borne wa­ter sup­ply af­ter things re­turn to nor­mal. As a fur­ther con­ser­va­tion mea­sure, it asked cus­tomers, where pos­si­ble, to al­so har­vest rain­fall to sup­ple­ment their wa­ter us­age.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion or as­sis­tance, cus­tomers are asked to con­tact WASA’s Cus­tomer Call Cen­tre toll free at 800-4420/26.

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