Residents collect sandbags in anticipating of possible floods caused by the passage of Tropical Storm Gonzalo. (Image: RISHI RAGOONATH)

Even as the seven major rivers in the Oropouche Drain Basin began to rise with the passage of Tropical Storm Gonzalo, residents of Woodland, Penal and Debe were busy stacking sandbags in flood-prone areas.

Along Bridge Cross Mall, bags were placed at the front of businesses so that in the event that the Coromata River broke its banks, there would be no loss of goods. This time around, business owners had enough time to put their goods on high grounds and in some cases clear out their valuables.

Over the past three days, hundreds of sandbags have been distributed.

At low lying Chester Trace, Debe councillor for La Fortune/Debe North Krishna Persadsingh organized to distribute 150 sandbags for residents.

In an interview with Guardian Media, Persadsingh said he also distributed 150 sandbags to residents of Woodland. A loudspeaker passed through the communities advising residents to call Persadsingh on his cellular phone if they needed sandbags.

President of the South Oropouche Riverine Flood Action Group Edward Moodie and his team were also out from 6 am, distributing sandbags to hundreds of residents.

Moodie said many residents had no transportation and were unable to safeguard their homes themselves so their friends, neighbours and even stranger from various support organizations including his own, extended a helping hand.

He said residents were allowed up to 15 sandbags.

“People used their private cars to transport the sandbags, which were prepared outside the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation. We have targeted the poorer areas of the constituency and my group is going out to these areas and monitoring the height of the rivers and the people who need help,” Moodie said.

Chairman of the Corporation, Dr Allen Sammy said there were no reports of flooding up to midday but mild rainfall. He said the Disaster Management teams were on standby to render assistance.

Guardian Media will update this story as more information comes to hand.