Floodwaters rose across several parts of south and central Trinidad as the islands remained under an adverse weather alert.
In the southern region, indiscriminate development was blamed for the floods which affected hundreds of families from around 10 am on Saturday.
As the tide rose around 1:24 pm, several parts of Lorensotte, Lamorell, Rancho Quemado, Palo Seco Settlement, Sobo, Webber Trace, parts of Beach Road, SS Erin Road, as well as Lorensotte South and North Trace, were under water.
Residents spent most of the day scampering to save their possessions.
Theophilus Coutou hurriedly nailed galvanise sheets across his gate to keep out the rising floods.
Radica Singh of Happy Valley Road placed her sofa on bricks and started bagging up cushions and other household items.
Marcus Amarsingh waded through the waters of the SS Erin Road, holding his slippers in one hand and a bag with food and snacks in the other.
The Joseph family was marooned in their home and waved to the media shouting, “Poor drainage!”
At Lamorell Trace, Tara Luke and her family were stranded as the floodwaters swirled like a river around her house. Luke said a nearby housing project had exacerbated the problem.
“We need regular dredging of the river. The drainage is terrible here,” Luke said.
She said every year residents suffer flood damage.
“The Erin River needs to be widened and dredged regularly. About ten to 12 families are affected and we need something to be done right now,” Luke said.
Agricultural plots near the South Erin block were also covered with water and residents safeguarded their livestock and pets as the floods rose.
Taxi driver Samuel Gervais of Arena Village, Erin also said better drainage was needed.
“Right now I cannot go to work. I have a family of five and we cannot come out because of the floods. We are just stuck here,” he said.
Kevin Coutou rode his bicycle out on the flooded roads.
Another resident Alana Baptiste said developers were causing the floods.
“They are doing what they want down here. They diverted the river and it is very distressing because instead of the water running down the road here, it is backing up into the trace and coming into people’s houses,” Baptiste said.
“The people who blocked the river should be charged. For years now we have been making reports about it and nothing has been done.”
Community activist Victor Roberts told CNC3 News that the Erin River needed widening and dredging. He said when contractors are hired to clean the river, they only clean the areas that are visible from the road.
Roberts called on the Minister of Works to do proper supervision of contractors who are hired to clear watercourses saying that too often they do shoddy work.
Last year, Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said $100 million would be spent to clear watercourses to alleviate flooding.
Meanwhile, at Techier Village, Point Fortin floodwaters also rose following persistent rainfall.
Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards, Mayor Saleema Thomas and local government councillors were on the ground assessing damages.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar also put her teams on standby saying the adverse weather alert was set to continue and would impact negatively on several constituencies.
Flooding was also reported at Couva Main Road, Gopaul Lands, Gasparillo and in several parts of Penal and Barrackpore. Poodai Lagoon became flooded and several fields of crops were underwater up to late Saturday.