After floods, Palmyra Villagers plead for help
By STACY MOORE Friday, August 22 2014
click on pic to zoom in
An unidentified resident of Mahabal Trace, Palmyra, bathes livestock covered in mud after flooding in the village....
FOR nearly two hours residents in the small community of Mahabal Trace, Palmyra, South Trinidad remained trapped in their homes as flood waters swept through the village following torrential showers on Wednesday evening.
Many of the villagers also watched helplessly from their windows as many of their farm animals drowned as the flood waters rose to close to four feet in depth. It was not until shortly after 4pm that residents said the flood waters began to subside and they were able to leave their homes.
For over 30 years villagers said they have endured flooding in the village as their calls to those in authority have fallen to deaf ears. The frustrated villagers believe that Wednesday’s flooding was the worst they have suffered in years. The residents believe that the village has been neglected and that poor drainage in the area is the main cause of the flooding.
Mother of three, Stephanie Mahabal, said that the construction of box drains started in the village, but ended abruptly soon after. “The work just stopped and when the villagers went to the Princes Town Corporation to ask why the work stopped, all we keep getting is the run around. We are really tired and fed up to be going through this year after year,” Mahabal said.
She added, “Maybe if they had completed the work and constructed all the box drains this time around there may not have been flooding.” Mahabal said in addition the workers contracted to build the box drains also dumped a lot of mud into the bushes.
“So the water had nowhere to drain and everything is just stagnant, and not to mention the roads they dug up and now these roads are in a horrible condition,” she said.
Mahabal said many of the residents who went to work on Wednesday, could not enter the village on their return due to the flooding. “These people could not come in the village because the waters were just too high and we did not know what creatures were in these waters.”she said.
Another villager, Rakesh Mahabal, was praised by other villagers for saving many of the farm animals. “The waters were high, but I had to go in and save the animals. So I went in with my tall boots and pulled them out to the pens and carried them in my hands,” Rakesh said.
Rakesh said the sheep, goats and cows were making sounds of distress. “It was sad to see some of them die, but I really tried my best to save a lot of them,” he said.
Another resident, Steve Mahabal, pleaded with those in authority to hear the pleas of the residents and complete the box drains in the village. When Newsday contacted the Princes Town Regional Corporation an official said that field officers who were able to comment on the problem were “out for the day.” Efforts to reach chairman, Akinath Singh, proved futile.