Over 100 homes in Diego Martin were damaged yesterday, some were flooded with water as high as four feet, says chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation Anthony Sammy.
Sammy provided an update via telephone to Works Minister Suruj Rambachan on the disaster in Diego Martin when Parliament broke for tea during the Budget debate. Rambachan was responding to the media’s request for an update.
He said there was more internal damage to homes and the Diego Martin Central community centre in Diamond Vale was opened as a shelter where one family had already sought relief.
Sammy said residents in areas such as Blue Basin, Bagatelle, Jean Avenue, Teshiera Avenue and Mason Street among others were badly hit by the rain.
He said following an early meeting with Rambachan, Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh, National Security Minister Gary Griffith and Justice Minister Emmanuel George, resources were deployed in the area.
Sammy said over 540 people were on the ground as CEPEP, URP and WASA workers moved into the area for clean up works. He added that some 65 pieces of equipment were also brought in.
Rambachan said because of the mud left behind, WASA brought in five master vacuum trucks and water trucks for clean up operations.
He said equipment from other corporations were brought in to deal with overflowing cesspits and ensure that the place is sanitary.
“Thankfully the water receded rather quickly so we were able to move in a more rapid pace,” said Rambachan.
Last year, a number of private contractors were brought into the Diego Martin area for clean up works when the area was hit by severe flooding.
Rambachan disclosed that some $22 million was allocated in the recent budget to pay money owed to these contractors.
He said yesterday another approach was used — resources from the Works Ministry, WASA and various corporations were used instead of a number of private contractors.
The Minister said the Government addressed several areas in the Diego Martin area in terms of doing works to prevent flooding.
He said at the same time other areas in the country were being looked after such as the Macaulay River in Claxton Bay which has been cleaned for the first time in 15 years.
Rambachan pointed out that a couple weeks ago when there was heavy rainfall, people’s garbage such as old fridges were seen blocking drainage.
“We in his country have a laissez faire attitude towards our own safety and interest, in fact we do things that are inimical to our own safety at times,” he said.
He said people need to be civic minded and exercise responsibility as it cannot fall on the Government’s shoulders alone to deal with the flooding problem.
He said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was notified of the Diego Martin situation at 2 a.m. yesterday and she has been receiving regular updates.