KEVON [email protected]
A showery weekend ended in disaster for approximately 28 Rio Claro families who suffered property damage in Sunday morning floods.
Residents had to call firefighters to rescue a differently-abled person trapped in a house along Guyaguayare Road as the floodwater rose dangerously. Thankfully the waters subsided quickly.
For residents of Agostini, Poole Valley, Mile End and Union Village, destruction was swift. The sound of murky water gushing into their homes jolted many from their sleep, and within two hours, it subsided. In the aftermath, bushy watercourses and garbage showed signs of what happened.
In Mile End, Michael Ramlochan recalled that heavy showers began around 4 am, resulting in a nearby ravine overflowing into the road. And minutes went by, the water started flowing into his home. Ramlochan said the volume was a first for the area. He lost approximately $50,000 in property, including fridges, computers, a water pump, a stove, furniture, carpets and other items.
“Drainage needs cleaning in many areas. Not directly here but probably downstream. From what I understood, there were some clogs downstream that need cleaning,” Ramlochan said.
As he put his furniture outside to dry in Union Village, Amshard Rahim explained that around 6.30 am, water began flooding his house. Within 10 minutes, there were approximately eight inches of floodwater inside his home, soiling his bed, couch, refrigerator and other household items. He said his uncle was 75 years old and never experienced floods in the village where live all his life.
The family-owned bar, service station and auto parts store survived the flood. Showing a river overgrown with bushes and silted drain, Rahim said residents requested cleaning and the construction of a box drain, but authorities did nothing. Coupled with intense showers, it brought about destruction.
Chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation Raymond Cozier said yesterday’s flood was the culmination of the persistent rainfall that started on Friday night. In many of the areas, he said it was the first time people experienced floods, and in others, it was the worst ever seen. In assessing the cause, he said, drains overgrown with bushes and unauthorised crossings over watercourses were parts of the problem.
The Disaster Management Unit remains on standby for more severe weather while work will begin to alleviate some of the problems residents face today.
Speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, Mayaro MP Ruston Paray called on Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan to begin drainage works immediately to mitigate any further disaster that the rainy season may bring. Paray estimated that the floods affected close to 150 people.
“Besides the rainfall, I can tell you I have been lobbying the Ministry of Works for the past six months, since January, to expedite the flood mitigation plans that they had. While some works were done, I must say the results clearly tells me not enough was done, and the water came up. The hardest part about this is that this water comes up in the night when people are asleep.
“When you wake up in the morning, you’re under three and four feet of water. It’s extremely dangerous. I am calling on the Ministry of Works to take some evasive action from in the morning because we are just at the start of the rainy season. I sympathise with my constituents, but I cannot bear to see them go through these three and four times for the year again. So I am calling on Minister Rohan Sinanan to take some immediate action to complete and perhaps to redo some of the work that they were doing in the Mayaro constituency to avoid the problem further,” Paray said.