Saturday, February 24, 2018

Flooding leaves north under water

HEAVY rainfall yesterday caused widespread flooding and major infrastructural damage throughout north Trinidad.

Areas in Diego Martin, Cocorite, Woodbrook, Dibe and Maraval were some of the worst hit.

Around 12.30 p.m., water broke down sections of a wall of the Trinidad Country Club at Saddle Road, Maraval, flooding many nearby residential and business areas.

Bricks, logs, debris, mud and slush covered the street and traffic moved along very slowly.

Water more than a foot high was seen in the parking lots of the nearby RBC and Guardian Life buildings.

One resident said after hearing a strange noise, "the whole road was just like a river with big plank and whatever. And all the debris start to run for a good 15 minutes. It was a disaster".

She recalled that a man had to divert a driver in a red car whose vehicle was almost covered by rushing flood waters.

She was one of a number of residents who expressed their view that the wall was improperly built and comments included "shoddy workmanship" and "bad work".

The wall was constructed as part of the Maraval Roundabout project which began under the former People's National Movement administration, but was opened under the current Government in May.

One resident, who was shovelling sludge in front of his home, said it was "God's fault" and no one else's.

He added that the water built up pressure and that broke the wall that had been built "perfect".

A resident from nearby Gittens Avenue showed the knee-high water that covered the ground surrounding the Gittens Flats apartments.

A fire officer at the scene said that in one apartment block, people on the ground floor were temporarily marooned due to flooding but no longer needed rescuing, and they were also assisting in getting the water to subside though with "little resources".

Some parts of the broken wall leaned on electrical poles, and drooping electrical wires had to be lifted for trucks and other high vehicles to pass. Around 2.30 p.m., an official from the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission and two Works Ministry backhoes arrived and began clearing up debris and demolishing broken parts of the wall.

A meteorologist at the Met Office told the Sunday Express, in a telephone interview, the rainfall was typical for this time for the year.

He explained that the convective activity (atmospheric movement) was enhanced by an upper level trough, which was the main cause of the heavy showers.

He noted that the Met Office only measures rainfall levels in Piarco and therefore he could not say what were the levels in the areas that experienced heavy rains yesterday.

The Fire Services advised that people stay out of areas of northwest Trinidad due to the flooding, and that a number of drivers had been trapped in flood waters.

The Sunday Express also received reports of a wall collapsing due to the rains on Dundonald Hill, Port of Spain, and a section of wall along the Diego Martin Highway had also collapsed.