Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mayaro marooned...as Ortoire River overflows

Mafeking Village, Mayaro on Saturday morning.

As feared, the Ortoire River has overflowed, flooding Mafeking Village, Mayaro, where more than 600 people live.

The waters has flooded the Naparima/Mayaro Road, effectively cutting off access from the east. The only way out is through Manzanilla.

Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray told the Express on Friday that his office and officials of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation had put residents on notice that they may need to evacuate.

“The Mafeking River is on its way up. We expect the river waters to cross the main roads sometime later today. So we have placed notices to people in inner Mafeking, Bristol and Chrysostom Trace, which are areas traditionally hit the heaviest. We expect the flood waters within the next 24- 48 hours. Our machinery is in place we are doing the best that we can”, said Paray. “We have had very little communication from Central Government. While we have been in contact with the ODPM (Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management) and clearly they are a co-ordinating unit so they are not one to give resources. So we will continue to monitor the situation and will take action as necessary”.

Areas such as Navet, Lazarri, Poole Valley, Cedar Grove Road and Cuche have already been hit by flooding.

Paray said yesterday morning: “Right now people at Cedar Grove Road are marooned. We have (regional) corporation trucks shuttling residents out of the flood waters. But the truck drivers are now telling me that in about an hour they will not be able to get past the flood, not even with dump trucks, because it is rising.”

He said affected residents have been advised to seek shelter with relatives as the State shelters had no resources.

“We use these shelters as an absolute last resort because there is nothing in them to accommodate a family. We can't tell people to come and make them sleep on benches,” he said.

According to Paray, the clean-up operations have not yet begun with the expectancy of the worst to come.

“We continue to monitor the situation. There is urgent need for clean-up exercises but we're told that unless the water recedes it really doesn't make sense to undertake any kind of clean up”, he said.

The Mayaro MP said arrangements were being made to supply grocery items to families who fell victim to the flooding.