Kalpoos tell flood victims stop bad begging

Hav­ing been hailed as he­roes for res­cu­ing over 400 peo­ple when floods wa­ters reached the roofs of homes in Kel­ly Vil­lage, the Kalpoo broth­ers are now comb­ing through the man­grove vil­lages of the Cen­tral Plains try­ing to find fam­i­lies who have not re­ceived any help.

Navin Kalpoo, his broth­er Ravi and their team from Ibis Tours, yes­ter­day went to the back of Sie­u­nar­ine Trace to find the fam­i­lies who were un­reach­able be­cause of the floods.

Navin said many Good Samar­i­tans had come to the vil­lages but turned back when the oil­sand and as­phalt roads reached to the point of be­com­ing a mud track.

“Peo­ple say­ing they got no help but this is be­cause some ve­hi­cles could not reach cer­tain ar­eas. We grew up in the man­groves and we know all the vil­lages, so we are work­ing from the back up to the front to make sure that no fam­i­ly was left be­hind,” Navin said.

He ex­plained that since Sat­ur­day his team had been dis­trib­ut­ing food and sup­plies to res­i­dents.

“We want­ed to make sure that peo­ple got sup­plies so we de­liv­ered it our­selves,” Navin said.

He ex­plained, how­ev­er, that some peo­ple were con­tin­u­ing to “bad beg” and stock­pil­ing sup­plies. “There is some ex­ploita­tion, where peo­ple are call­ing for sup­plies and are get­ting more than their fair share, while oth­er ar­eas are get­ting lit­tle or none,” Navin said.

He said the rea­son he is still in the vil­lages do­ing as­sess­ment was that he was not sat­is­fied that all fam­i­lies got as­sis­tance.

Navin al­so shrugged off com­ments that he was de­serv­ing of a na­tion­al award.

“We were in a sit­u­a­tion where we had the re­sources to help. I don’t think I am a hero. I just hap­pened to have the as­sets at that point to help. They were cry­ing out to us for help. The wa­ter was gush­ing and peo­ple were up on their roofs cry­ing. They were ter­ri­fied. I said let’s go help. We did not think twice,” Navin said.

He said they made about 20 trips on Sat­ur­day and each trip had about 20 peo­ple.

Kel­ly Vil­lage ex­pe­ri­enced se­vere flood­ing af­ter the heavy show­ers on Fri­day and by Sat­ur­day the wa­ters were so high it washed away cars and homes. Res­i­dents climbed on their roofs to es­cape the ris­ing wa­ters.

Navin and his broth­er run Ibis tours in the Ca­roni Bird Sanc­tu­ary. The broth­ers said they were not tak­ing cash do­na­tions but were ac­cept­ing food and med­ical sup­plies. Kalpoo can be reached at 303-4287.

- by Radhica De Silva

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