Sangre Grande corporation chairman Anil Juteram working on widening river courses yesterday.

With the rainy season expected to bring diseases, including dengue fever, several regional corporations have begun work to deal with problems such as mosquito-borne diseases.

Guardian Media checked with several corporations after Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram yesterday pointed out that the rainy season can bring various types of the flu, even while the country battles the COVID-19 crisis. Parasram said it would have helped with the last spate of H1N1 infections if, for instance, the public health measures for the COVID virus were in place then.

Several corporations yesterday indicated they were working to mitigate flooding and mosquito-breeding conditions which can contribute to more diseases.

Port-of-Spain Mayor, Joel Martinez told Guardian Media, the issue was discussed at last week’s Public Health meeting.

”Our health division is aware of the impending rainy season and we’ve discussed spraying and dredging water courses,” he said.

“We’re awaiting special equipment for spraying and chemicals for that defogging process as soon as we see rain. We’re also asking people to maintain their lots and open spaces are getting attention also,” he added.

However, due to COVID restrictions, he said not all staff is out.

“We have limited crews but we’re awaiting advice from the CMO and Prime Minister on when other essential services will be out and we can start cleaning further—so yes, the work needed to ensure we don’t have other diseases arising due to the rainy season, is a front-burner matter,” he added.

Chairman of the Penal Debe Corporation, Dr Allan Sammy said, “Our spraying programme never stopped, it’s cyclical. Our meetings are suspended for now but we usually get spraying done by Insect Vector. If incidences of mosquitoes arise, spraying is hoped to resume in the next month.”

Chairman of the Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation, Kwesi Robinson didn’t see a problem ahead with COVID cases plus other diseases since he said there aren’t many COVID cases.

“We had reports of two dengue cases a month ago but only one was confirmed. Mitigation work for the rainy season began in January, with excavators and cleaning. It’s not 100 per cent finished but we’re getting there.”

Robinson said the corporation was working with the Works Ministry on areas in Arouca, Manuel Congo, Santa Rosa/Pinto Road, Kelly Village and up to the Caroni River.

Sangre Grande Corporation Chairman Anil Juteram spoke briefly as he was out yesterday with crews doing desilting work in several areas to prevent rainy season flooding.

Juteram said, “We’ve been focusing on widening and desilting watercourses. Spraying is something (the) Health (Division) will have to make the recommendation for us.”

Chaguanas Mayor Vandana Mohit said she had noted Parasram’s concerns about diseases the rainy season can bring.

“I immediately met with my CEO. We have a special meeting for tomorrow morning on all precautionary measures needed for this.”