Sandbags to help mitigate flooding stockpiled at the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation. (Image courtesy Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government)

All Disaster Management Units (DMUs) in the Regional Corporations across the country remain at high alert, following news of Tropical Storm Elsa being upgraded to a Category One hurricane, this morning.

At present, Trinidad and Tobago is under a yellow level Adverse Weather Alert, as well as a yellow level Localized Flood Alert.

An advisory from the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government says the DMUs were activated since yesterday, as the country began experiencing adverse weather conditions associated with Elsa.  The advisory states:

“In preparation for activity associated with Hurricane Elsa, all Disaster Management Units have ensured that key components of the Ministry’s Disaster Risk Reduction Plan are in place—such as an updated Disaster Communication Plan, sandbags for distribution, COVID-19 compliant Emergency Shelters, mitigation tools such as chainsaws and brush cutters and relief items—in the event that burgesses are severely impacted.”

Image courtesy Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government.

Already, the Ministry has confirmed reports of flooding, downed trees, and land slippage, from regional corporations ranging from San Juan to Sangre Grande, and Siparia to Mayaro.

“Heavy rainfall occurred during the early hours of today (Friday 2nd July 2021) as an effect of the hurricane’s outer band and there have been some occurrences of flooding, landslides and fallen trees,” the Ministry reports.

Assessments are being conducted following several disaster management reports:

● One report from the Port-of Spain region of a fallen tree

● Two reports from the Diego Martin region of fallen trees

● One report from the San Juan/ Laventille region of a collapsed retaining wall and land slippage.

● Several reports from the Sangre Grande region of fallen trees and residential flooding

● Several reports from the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo region of street and residential flooding

● Reports of street flooding in the Mayaro/Rio Claro region

● One report of landslide in the Siparia region

Sandbags to help mitigate flooding stockpiled at the Chaguanas Borough Corporation. (Image courtesy Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government)

The Ministry assures that its Disaster Management personnel stand ready and equipped to mobilize and coordinate in the event of flooding and any other hazards.

It is encouraging citizens to be prepared, stay updated and to contact their respective Disaster Management Unit for sandbags if needed, prior to worsening conditions associated with the adverse weather system.