Cleanup operations have started following an oilspill at Vessigny Reserve Road, which has contaminated a river which leads to the Vessigny Beach. (Image by Rishi Ragoonath)

 

Residents of Vessigny Reserve Road are experiencing nausea and diarrhoea after inhaling fumes from an oil spill that contaminated a river near their home. 
It is still uncertain what caused the spill. 

 
The river is a tributary that flows into the Gulf of Paria near Vessigny Beach and residents say even though they have been exposed for more than 12 hours, little has been done to assist them. 

 
The Beach remained closed off to public access and an ambulance was stationed nearby in the event of any further mishap. 

 
A member of the Ramlal family said she and other neighbours have been experiencing diarrhoea because of the oil fumes. 

 
“The smell is very bad very high. This happened yesterday evening and we contacted CGCL who told us its Heritage pipeline. Heritage personnel came last night to assess the situation but nothing was done to evacuate us even though the smell is very high,” she said. 

 
Ramlal added, “Heritage personnel told us we are not allowed to light stoves or do anything combustible. Nothing to ignite a fire. No one has brought us breakfast. They said they would bring meals but we have received nothing.” 

 
“People have been eating bread or whatever else they could buy around here,” she added. 
She noted that her mother-in-law and her aunt-in-law were forced to leave their homes on Tuesday night because of the fumes which got worse when darkness fell. 

 
“My aunt-in-law stayed at her Church in Gonzales, Guapo and my mother-in-law stayed at her granddaughter’s house,” Ramlal said. 

 
A source at Heritage Petroleum said a statement is being prepared and will be issued to the media shortly. Guardian Media will update this story as more information comes to hand.