Divali will not be bright this year for residents of Penal after their homes were inundated with floods yesterday.
Nicholas Rampersad, of Ragoonanan Trace, said they have spent weeks preparing their homes for Divali next week Thursday, but all their efforts have now gone in vain as rising floods continue to damage their homes.
“Right now we don’t know if to clean. The rain is set up up to fall again and there could be more floods. As Divali approaches, we don’t know what to do. The water is a foot high, our foundation is cracking because of the constant floods,” Rampersad said.
He added, “For this Divali, we don’t know if we can light up. This is affecting all the residents of Ragoonanan Trace, Suchit Trace, Batchya and my heart go out to those who were affected more than me.”
Nearby, another resident Junab Ali was angry at the frequent floods.
“I born and grow in this trace and its years and years and years we bawling to the councillor and the regional corporation. No assistance at all,” he said.
He added, “Flood after flood we suffering! Its real problems inside here. All the children cannot walk through this road. They have to stay inside. People who don’t have vehicles, they suffering. We begging the authorities for help. We not seeing the corporation or the councillor. This is happening right through the district. MP and councillor come out and assist the people, stop sleeping.”
In 2019, the residents suffered a loss of property after widespread Divali floods wreaked havoc at their homes.
“We had to leave our homes and run,” resident Kumar Ramjattan said.
He called on the Ministry of Works to provide proper drainage in the South Oropouche basin saying all the watercourses need to be cleared.
Contacted for comment chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy said the corporation has been routinely maintaining all 99 of its watercourses which falls under its purview.
However, he said the major watercourses fall under the Ministry of Works and Transport.
While some dredging has been done, Dr Sammy said the rivers have been partially cleaned.
During a tour of the New Cut Channel and the Gordineau River a few weeks ago, trees were seen growing in the centre of the river.
Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan recently said pumps have been brought in to alleviate the flooding in South Oropouche. He said the Ministry said under its Desilting Works Programme for fiscal 2020-2021, 10 projects were scheduled in the electoral districts of Oropouche West, Oropouche East, Fyzabad and Siparia all of which are adjacent to each other and would bring relief to the residents of the Oropouche Lagoon and environs.