Clogged with debris and shrubs, a watercourse running through the residential community of Gopaul Lands, Marabella, is causing distress to over 25 families when it floods.
The residents who live along Gopaul Circular Road, Jones Avenue and Fahey Avenue say every time it rains the water from the river gushes into their homes bringing mud, debris and even vermin.Some of their homes have cracked walls, the lawns are sinking and tiles are popping with the movement of the land. A wall on the edge of the river has also shifted and is in danger of collapse.
Susan Maharaj said she had been living in the area for five years and every year they faced flooding.
“I am really fed up of this flooding situation. In the five years I have been here, about 20 times every year we get flooding,” she said.
She added, “We have improper drainage. There are bottles, branches in the river and people throw their rubbish in the drain. Sometimes we see them and tell them about it. The grass is growing up in the river and this does not help the situation. We keep our side of the drain clean but that is as much as we can do.”
Another resident, Chandrakha Persad of Gopaul Circular Drive, said his wall which was built on the edge of the watercourse was on the verge of collapse.
“The water is undermining the wall and the whole wall is coming down and bringing mud in my yard. It is affecting my entire house,” Persad said.
He said they had reported the problem multiple times to the San Fernando City Corporation and their MP David Lee.
“MP Lee said he cannot help. The Mayor office has several reports as well. Nothing is done. In the meantime, my yard is falling apart. I don’t have time to wait. We want them to act fast,” Persad said.
Another resident, Gerard Lee Shue Ling, of Jones Avenue, said the watercourse passed behind everyone’s homes.
“They have never cleaned this drain. If they get this drain flowing again, the problem of flooding will not happen again. The water will get free access to flow but nothing is being done, all the vegetation is growing and we have alligators (caiman) there as well,” he said.
Kaidh Mohammed, of Circular Drive said whenever the rain fell the water cascaded down in a gush.
“It is like a tidal wave. The water gets very high. The neighbour’s wall is evidence of how high the water comes up,” Mohammed said.
The residents say they want the Minister of Works to organise to clear the river. If nothing is done, the residents say they will initiate legal action.
Several attempts were made to contact San Fernando Mayor Junia Regello and Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan but calls went unanswered.