Just over three weeks ago residents of Bamboo settlement were devastated for the third consecutive year by floodwaters when Tropical Storm Karen passed over the island.
However, even though the waters have long since receded from their properties, residents are facing another issue; their drains are still filled with slush—more than they can clean. This is why they are appealing to private citizens to assist them with the required machinery to clean their drains.
Councillor for Valsayn/St Joseph Seema Ramsaran-Augustine, under whom Bamboo numbers two and three fall, explained at the town hall meeting at the community centre at Bamboo number three last night, that there is “three feet of slush, some points two feet, some points four feet”.
For the past three days, a group of 20 men have been working throughout Bamboo numbers one, two, and three to clear the sludge. Residents fear if the drains aren’t cleaned promptly another flooding incident looms with any rains which may come from the country’s ongoing rainy season.
However, Ramsaran-Augustine said there are sections of the drains which cannot be cleaned manually. She reached out to officials in the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation and was able to get a skid-steer loader (bobcat as it’s colloquially referred to).
MP for the area, Prakash Ramadhar also revealed that he was informed by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kazim Hosein indicated that “some of the cleaning works in the localised drains will begin tomorrow (Wednesday)”. While he also reached out to the Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan, Ramadhar said he is yet to get a response.
But Ramsaran-Augustine does not believe these efforts would be enough to get the work done.
“I’m throwing a plea out there on behalf of Bamboo residents, hoping that some good citizen —maybe those with equipment—may be able to assist us. We really need to get a mini-excavator that would be able to assist with the bobcat...if we get half an hour of rain, the village will flood,” she said.
The residents have come together and created an action plan which MP Ramadhar said he would forward to the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
This plan would include recommendations which they believe would prevent the flooding in the area. It includes measures such as fixing pumps and flood gates as well as strengthening the embankment along with the major watercourses flowing through the area.
Story by RISHARD KHAN
Image by ANISTO ALVES