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Rains, floods, landslip

By NEWSDAY REPORTERS Saturday, July 19 2014

click on pic to zoom in
WET WALK: Two women shelter under an umbrella as they walked through a downpour in San Fernando as a passing tropical wave led to sustained, heavy rai...
WET WALK: Two women shelter under an umbrella as they walked through a downpour in San Fernando as a passing tropical wave led to sustained, heavy rai...

AFTER months of a protracted dry-spell, stretching into the Rainy Season, which led to water rationing by WASA, a passing tropical wave led to heavy, thundery showers throughout the country yesterday bringing relief for farmers and WASA but flooding and even landslips in certain places.

Callers to Newsday’s Chacon Street, Port-of-Spain head-offices reported a landslip off the North Coast Road in Maracas near the lookout. Workers from the Ministry of Works were on the scene effecting clean-up and repair operations.

Heavy rainfall led to the river near Trincity Mall, which last week was a mere trickle, rising several feet and flooding the section of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway which the river runs under.

In fact, the traffic was so bad because of the flooded section of that highway that permission was granted yesterday by the Ministry of Transport for motorists to have access to the Priority Bus Route from Morvant Junction to Arima, between 2 pm to eight o’clock last night.

A Tropical Wave associated with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) passed over the country and caused the heavy showers. Stephen Ramroop, CEO of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) told Newsday the ODPM received approximately 70 reports of minor incidences but no report of major damage.

“The ODPM got quite a lot of reports from all over the country. Quite a lot of reports...about 60 to 70 reports that have come to my office,” Ramroop said. He added that there were reports of flash flooding in Tunapuna, the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus, Oropune, Pasea Street and along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway.

Ramroop said most of the flooding dissipated as the weather cleared up in the late afternoon and early evening.

Over in Tobago, the sister-isle experienced only minor incidents following the heavy rainfall. Director the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Allan Stewart said there were approximately six reports of minor occurrences ranging from landslides, a leaking roof to requests for the erection of retaining walls.

Stewart told Newsday that the most serious reports were of a tree falling on an outhouse and residential flash-flooding in the Mt Grace and Lambeau areas respectively. There were no reports of injuries.

However, he has advised that during the long spell of rainfall, slopes will be susceptible to failure and warned members of the public to be on the lookout for landslides and to exercise caution in going about their activities.

In Chaguanas, flash flooding was reported in several areas with Mayor Gopaul Boodhan placing blame for some of the flooding on residents who he claimed had altered water courses. “All those who block watercourses and change the drainage system, we are going at them. There are lot of people who are altering the watercourses in front or at the back of their houses. They are closing in the width of the watercourse to get more land space,” said the mayor as he toured various communities affected by showers.

The mayor charged that residents should not live in comfort at the inconvenience of other communities. Commenting on the flooding situation at Dookeran Street off Cacandee Road, Felicity, Boodhan explained box drains were constructed to alleviate flooding.

He admitted that it was done in phases and some corrections are needed. He further admitted that the drains are in need cleaning as there is filth inside them.

The Southland saw its fair share of rainfall yesterday and while there were reports of flash flooding in low lying areas prone to such deluge, there were no reports of major damage caused by the showers which are expected to continue into the weekend.

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