Weather worries in Diego
By LEISELLE MARAJ Monday, September 16 2013
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MUDDY ROAD: A woman walks along a narrow culvert at the side of a mud-filled road in Pump Drive, Patna Village, two days after flooding left behind th...
INTERMITTENT showers yesterday did not stop clean-up operations in the Diego Martin area which experienced severe flooding last Friday. Residents in affected areas however, remain on high alert, bracing for heavy showers that may result in further destruction.
While the skies remained dark and thunder and lightning signalled a day of inclement weather, residents within Bagatelle, Patna and along St Lucien Road loaded up Diego Martin Regional Corporation trucks with debris and destroyed household items.
They were also drying out items which could be salvaged from shoes to suitcases to trophies as the weather permitted. The residents all told Newsday they had a sense of fear and worry in their hearts as they watched the dark clouds overhead, while cleaning up.
From as early as 8 am, crews from the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) were in the area with trucks and backhoes removing large pieces of debris from the roadway and blocked drains. The Water And Sewerage Authority (WASA) and other responders were also seen in Diego Martin picking up destroyed mattresses, old tyres, broken television sets and other items heaped at garbage collection sites or along the roadway. Families who moved temporarily to the Diego Martin Community Centre had already made their way to their respective homes to bring some semblance of order to their properties.
CEPEP contractor, Gerard Newallo said his crew collected a lot of broken bamboo stalks and attributed the floods to this. Pump Drive resident, Haresh Narend who was affected by Friday’s flood waters said he and his neighbours were very cautious as the ground is very saturated and any heavy rains could mean more flooding.
“We probably had over hundred truckloads of rubbish come out of this area alone. Since Friday, WASA has been in the area picking up slush, pieces of galvanise and other pieces of debris,” he said.
Around lunch time, groups like Jesus is the Answer were seen delivering lunches and bottles of water to affected residents. Trucks passed along the roadway loaded with new mattresses to be taken to those who were in need. One resident who did not wish to be named said however that authorities were not responding in a timely manner to replace basic items. Another hinted that resources were being distributed to friends and family of those in charge.
Diego Martin Regional Corporation chairman Anthony Sammy said work continued yesterday with several stakeholders including the URP, sister regional corporations, religious non-government organisation Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the corporation’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training programme being involved.
He said responders concentrated on removing rubble and debris from the area between Saturday evening and yesterday. He expected 85-90 percent of work to be done by yesterday evening.
He appealed to persons to be honest while the corporation distributes mattresses and other emergency items so that those affected would be served as soon as possible. Sammy said there is need for a drainage plan for the Diego Martin area and he has engaged the services of three Venezuelan engineers to develop a plan to take to the relevant ministries. He said while climate change has impacted on weather patterns and means that flooding may be inevitable, the corporation has been training persons to respond effectively to the problem and he continued to urge persons to not dump large items within waterways which is one cause of flooding.