After several hours of incessant rainfall, floodwaters rose across South and Central Trinidad yesterday, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars in crops, livestock and household items.
At Cham Road, Mayaro, 10 families were trapped in their homes as over four feet of water flooded their properties.
Single mother of three Rabia Bramble said a recent land development had created problems in the area.
“Since they grade down the land, this flooding started to happen. Before, we never used to get flooding. Right now, I fed up with this mud and slush inside the house. We have no bed, no furniture, everything spoil. All the children school books gone,” Bramble complained to Guardian Media.
Her children attend the St Thomas Mayaro RC and Rio Claro Secondary schools and Bramble said she was unsure how they will cope with no school books or devices.
Before noon, a team from the Office of Disaster Preparedness arrived at Cham Road and used a pump to empty water from the houses. They also supplied some mattresses and sandbags to residents.
At Gould Road, Mayaro, Zorida Mohammed looked on helplessly as the water rose inside her home, covering the lower part of her kitchen cupboards. Mohammed said she too was frustrated with the floods, which rose overnight after six hours of rains.
Meanwhile, in Williamsville, Gasparillo and Claxton Bay, there was similar devastation.
At Garth Road, Williamsville, Cameron Sookdeo and his family were seen stacking sandbags and foam to keep water from entering their home.
“We had floods in 2010 and again in 2016. Two years now the river has not been cleaned. Lots of bushes on the banks and this is what is responsible for the floods here today,” Sookdeo said as he shovelled sand to create flood barriers.
At Claxton Bay and Gasparillo, the floods washed away poultry and other livestock.Councillor Nadia Khan-Mohammed said the entire region was under water.
“We have a lot of flooding at Heritage Road, Lalloo Trace, Macaulay, Southern Main Road, Cedar Hill Road, Soledad Road. The corporation team is on the ground trying to bring relief but we cannot do anything until the floods subside. Only then we can go in and begin cleaning,” Khan-Mohammed said.
She said an assessment of damage was being compiled.
In the South Oropouche Basin, floods occurred along Papourie Road, Monkey Town, Central Barrackpore, SS Erin Road and Suchit Trace.
South Oropouhe Riverine Flood Action Group (SORFAG) president Edward Moodie said areas near the Barrackpore Secondary and Barrackpore Secondary Comprehensive Schools were flooded.
“We have information that the floods are starting to enter into people’s homes in Barrackpore. We also have localised floods on the SS Erin Road, near Boodoo’s funeral home and at Picton area near Barrackpore,” Moodie said.
He noted that the Papourie River and Bhagmania Rivers were full.
At Suchit Trace, seven houses were flooded around noon.
One resident who identified herself only as Kaloutie said they were bracing for potential damage to their property.
“We are just waiting. We called and complained many times to the regional corporation in the past that they need to clean the drains to prevent us from flooding out. The drains are clogged and right now it is full of water. All this stink water is coming in our place because they are not cleaning the drain,” Kaloutie said.
CNC3 weather anchor Kalain Hosein said a surface to low-level trough caused the dismal weekend and heavy rainfall Sunday into yesterday.
“Thunderstorms and heavy showers were fuelled by abundant moisture and favourable low-level convergence. Wind shear kept the stronger activity across Tobago and eastern areas of Trinidad through the weekend. Flash flooding hit coastal villages near Mayaro, including Grand Lagoon, on Sunday night,” he added.
Hosein said between 6 pm on Sunday and 6 pm on Monday, rainfall totals up to 3.5 inches (89 millimetres) were recorded across parts of southern and eastern areas.