team effort: Port of Spain City Corporation employees clean a Belmont street following heavy rains in Port of Spain and west Trinidad yesterday which resulted in extensive flooding.

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Heavy rains put families on the edge

...Houses in Belmont, Laventille in danger of collapse

By Gyasi Gonzales gyasi.gonzales@trinidadexpress.com

HEAVY rains drenched the capital Port of Spain yesterday resulting in flash flooding in South Quay near City Gate along with west Port of Spain, as well as landslides in the Belmont and Laventille areas.

Yesterday's deluge began around noon and continued for almost an hour and a half.

Within that time motorists began experiencing difficulty driving through flooded parts of Port of Spain as well as some areas in Woodbrook and St James.

The area around the Queen's Park Savannah was flooded too but thankfully with almost everyone not at work the scenario of gridlocked traffic throughout the city was avoided.

A Picton Road, Laventille caller told the Express yesterday afternoon that her house was in danger of collapsing on top of her neighbour's. In Belmont a similar situation was created when the heavy rains caused a large chunk of land to fall away and the owners of the house, the Barrington family, fear that the next heavy rainfall would cause the house to topple into a precipice.

The Express spoke to Darryl Rajpaul who is councillor for Belmont-East.

He said that the house currently in danger in Belmont was located at Cumberbatch Lane.

Rajpaul said, "The rain contributed to the slide and took the land in front of the house and now it's in danger of falling down."

He said officials from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) have since visited that house along with the house on Picton Road, Laventille and they were in contact with the Port of Spain City Corporation with the aim of securing the exposed land in front of these houses so that further erosion of the soil can be prevented until a more permanent solution is decided on.

Off Picton Road, Laventille the situation was almost the same with the resident reporting that her family of seven, along with another family of seven that lives below them, in danger of losing their homes.

The woman identified only as Joline said, "When the rain started to pour today we got frightened when we noticed the land falling down the precipice."

She said, "Right now we don't know what we are going to do because the situation is pretty bad up here right now."

Meanwhile the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service yesterday announced that the country is not under any storm threat, watch or warning following heavy rains, followed by flash flooding throughout the country.

In a press release issued yesterday the Met Office said the rainfall was due to the presence of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone "aided by favourable upper-level conditions" and daytime heat.

The release said rainfall like that would usually be accompanied by gusty winds, heavy showers and thundershowers.

"The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service is closely monitoring this weather situation and will issue another bulletin if the situation warrants," the release added.

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