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Two die in Diego deluge

By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, August 12 2012

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Still trying to come to terms with the effects of last year’s deluge, residents of areas in North-West Trinidad and other parts of the country yesterday again fell prey to widespread flooding, mudslides and landslips — the result of heavy, persistent rainfall which began on Friday night.

In fact, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), which had responded to many requests for relief, yesterday reported that one man — Solomon Britto, 67, of Upper La Puerta, Diego Martin, had died. In a statement, the ODPM said Britto’s body was removed from the Diego Martin Main Road by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. It did not indicate a cause of death.

However, Sunday Newsday later learnt that another man, Everald Bentham, 31, of La Puerta, also died during yesterday’s deluge.

Firemen also responded to reports that six people had been marooned in a home on Clover Street, Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin. The ODPM also said it had received reports that residents in Westvale Park, Holder Drive and La Horquette Valley Road were also marooned due to a collapsed bridge. Flash flooding in the Glencoe/Carenage district also resulted in the destruction of the roadway, it said.

The ODPM added that relief efforts were being carried out through the TT Defence Force Engineering Battalion, CEPEP, Police Service and the Disaster Management Units of the various regional corporations.

The Meteorological Office at Piarco yesterday attributed the intense showers to an active Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), but made it clear that TT was not under any tropical storm threat, watch or warning.

The ODPM said landslips had been reported in Rich Plain; West Ridge, West Ridge Villas, Diego Martin Main Road, North Coast Road, Santa Cruz (from La Canoa to La Pastora), Morne Coco Road, Factory Road, Maraval, Paramin, Simeon Road, Paria and Blanchisseuse.

The ODPM said it had received reports of flooding from Rich Plain, Petit Valley, Diamond Vale, La Seiva, Pine Wood Gardens, Saddle Road and Mt Lambert. Several areas further afield, including Arima (Beckles Avenue and Upper Mausica Road), Sangre Grande and Tobago also experienced flooding, it said.

Meanwhile, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) said the heavy rainfall resulted in the shutdown of several water treatment facilities in North Trinidad. These include Maraval Waterworks; L&N Waterworks; Acono Waterworks and Las Lomas Waterworks.

In a release, WASA said the shutdown was caused by the clogging of the intakes with silt and debris, brought on by swollen rivers and problems with turbidity. The authority said communities in the north of the country will experience an interruption in their scheduled supply. It expects service to resume once weather conditions permit.

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources also said that the resources of the agency had also been deployed to assist distressed persons.

Meanwhile, residents in several parts of west and east Trinidad are breathing a sigh of relief, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (TTEC).

In a statement yesterday, the Authority said it had restored power to hundreds of customers after the heavy rainfall affected the electricity supply in those areas.

TTEC said in Maraval and Santa Cruz, trees and other debris from the landslides fell on electricity lines which led to the outages.

As of news time last evening, TTEC said it was working to restore power to customers in Belmont, Scorpion Alley and Haig Street, Carenage.

TTEC said customers in Sangre Grande, Toco, Brasso Seco and Lopinot, were expected to have their power restored by 7 O’clock last night.

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