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Blame highway for flooding

...says Kublalsingh; hard-hit resident claims victimisation

By debe \\\\\ Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

FLASH floods in Debe on Emancipation Day are the result of construction works on the proposed Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin. 

This was the claim made yesterday by environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh during a news conference at the Debe home of Tara Sharma, one of the residents hard hit by flood waters.

Residents said after an hour of rain, there was more than four feet of water in the vicinity. Several businesses including five doubles stalls, a Digicel outlet, gas station and puja stores were flooded. 

Sharma, 64, said this was the first time her home was hit with that much water as the water levels rose faster than usual since the water could not flow freely into the Oropouche River. 

Despite clean-up exercises and relief efforts following the widespread flooding by Oropouche East Member of Parliament Dr Roodal Moonilal and the Penal/

Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC), Sharma said she feels she is being victimised because of her association with the Highway Re-Route Movement as she has not yet received any assistance. 

She said: “Because I’m in the Highway Re-Route Movement, they treat you with scorn.”

Sharma, who lives two buildings away from Moonilal’s office, said she received a temporary food card valued at $550 from PDRC yesterday morning. 

Sharma said she suffered thousands of dollars in losses of furniture, appliances and her business. She said, “What can this (the food card) do? This not enough to buy disinfectant to clean my house.” 

Kublalsingh said: “The Gov­ern­­ment’s response to the flooding is distribution of food cards (which is) an insult towards her (Sharma).” 

He said the Prime Minister failed to abide by the Armstrong Report and, as a result, the highway is now creating the floods. 

Kublalsingh said affected residents do not want food cards but for the construction of the highway to stop. 

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