Caura river rages
By JANELLE DE SOUZA Wednesday, October 17 2012
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CROP DAMAGE: Farmer Anand Sankar displays his ruined crop of pumpkins as his farm plot in Diamond Avenue, Macoya was inundated with flood water when t...
IT DID not take that much rainfall to transform the usually peaceful Caura river into a raging torrent, overflowing its banks, inundating surrounding areas and damaging several properties, last Friday. Yesterday — four days after — residents and businessmen were still cleaning up and assessing damage to their properties.
Food crop farmer Anand Sankar said there was rainfall over the hills of the Northern Range with the majority of run off flowing into the Caura river, causing water levels to rise rapidly and the river eventually bursting its banks.
Sankar said while the area did not exactly flood, water from the river rushed across his farmland plot in Diamond Avenue, Macoya — several miles from the Caura Valley — leaving behind a ruined field of recently planted tomatoes and $40,000 in losses for Sankar.
He also lost eggplant (Baigan), pumpkin and caraillie crops. Sankar noted that water settled for about three hours, rotting the roots of many plants, causing them to dry up and die.
When Newsday visited the area yesterday afternoon, Sankar was in the process of preparing the land for replanting, a job he and his workers had done just a few weeks previously.
According to Sankar, he is wary of reporting the damage to the Ministry of Food Production because the authorities usually arrive weeks after the event, when farmers have already replanted. “This is our livelihood. We can’t leave the crops damaged or the land unplanted and wait for the authorities to show up to assess the damage. We have to get back on our feet and replant as soon as possible,” Sankar said.
Farmer Ganesh Lowtan at the Orange Grove Estate estimated his losses at $10,000. He lamented that a bed and a half of crops were completely destroyed, and all he could do was maintain and try to revive what remained of his crops of cauliflower, pumpkin and eggplant.
Farmers however were not the only ones affected by the weather activity, as a large section of a concrete retaining wall near Vander Street in Macoya’s Phase Three settlement was swept away by water from the raging Caura river.
Lennox Clarke, a resident of Vander Street, pointed out that the section of the river which snakes through the area rose to such a high level that it flowed on to the street and into people’s homes.
While he was grateful that the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation had sent a backhoe to begin works to clear the river and eventually rebuild the damaged section of the wall, Clarke was concerned that only one vehicle was sent, which would prolong the work.
Resident Gail Paul was directly affected by the collapse of the wall as piece of her backyard also fell into the river. Paul recalled that she got a phone call on Friday afternoon, informing her that the river was high and water was gushing, although there was little rain. She noted that two “large” trees on the other side of the river were washed away, causing the river bank to erode quickly.
Paul continued to monitor the situation over the weekend and on Sunday around noon, rain began to fall. Events came to a head when the retaining wall collapsed.
“It was frightening as I watched the river rise and erode the river bank. The water wasn’t even high, but the velocity obviously undermined the wall until it eventually fell at 2 or 3 pm,” Paul said.