Stacks of waterlogged furniture, damaged appliances and other valuables were piled high in front of residents’ homes in Gasparillo yesterday as swirling floodwaters subsided, leaving behind slush and mud.
And amidst the debris were prized school books and computers which the flood-striken children desperately need for online classes.
Sunil Rampersad from Gopaul Avenue, Bonne Aventure, watched his ten-year-old daughter Nadira rummage through the debris taking out her muddied books. She tried to turn on her laptop.
“It’s gone. It doesn’t work anymore,” she whispered. Rampersad said the floods came up within 15 minutes leaving them no time to save anything.
“Here was like a river, the water was pushing everything. Stoves and fridge floating away. The rains fell for some time and the waters came up fast. This was the worse flood we have ever seen,” he said.
Resident Robin Nanan said the area became a sea and by late afternoon when the floods subsided, there was no more light available to clean the house.
“We had to go by my daughter for the night. The floods destroyed everything. You can see the damages,” he said pointing to the waterlogged mattress, broken bed and muddied space saver.
Other residents like Sandra Ramcharitar said they worked throughout the night to clean out the slush.
“We had to deal with it. The family came together and we finished clean inside the house around 4 am. We could not clean everywhere but we cleaned a part of the house so we could find a dry spot to rest our heads,” she said.
The residents said recent land development had triggered the flooding.
Near Ragoobar Lands, several private developers had blocked the river.
Resident Vijay Rampersad said, “Lower down the road people block the river. They built walls over the river. This water coming from Bonne Aventure and Morne Roache. The councillor came and said they will see what they could do. They built a drywall. That is where the water backs up and starts to spread. The solution is to widen the river so the river will pull more volume,” he said.
MP for Tabaquite Anita Haynes who visited the area said while some residents experienced flooding, many residents in Parforce Road and Gopaul Avenue had no water to assist in the cleanup.
She said much of the flooding was caused by drain and river issues.
“Up to last night, Councillor Saffraz Ali and the Disaster Management Unit were out distributing relief,” she said.
She explained that a wall had broken down and a report was sent to the Ministry of Works.
“The wall fell and did not allow water to flow right here. This is dangerous because it is near the road. The Ministry of Works came here today and will do their paperwork. We will keep following up,” she said.
She noted that mattresses were also distributed. However, she said the flooding disaster had exacerbated the hard times that people were facing.
Asked what will be done, Haynes said she planned to hold consultations with residents to discuss a way forward.