FOR the second time in less than two weeks, the rains wreaked havoc on people's lives as several homes across the country were either flooded out or had their roofs torn off.
Whilst most of the flooding disaster shifted from western Trinidad into parts of Barataria, San Juan and Laventille, people everywhere have been left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.
From as early as 5 a.m. yesterday Trinidad and Tobago experienced some cloud bands associated with Tropical Storm Isaac as it made its way up the Eastern Caribbean towards Puerto Rico and the United States.
The strong winds and heavy rainfall — accompanied by bursts of thunder and lightning — swept over the country, creating a sense of panic and concern that stemmed from reports that the rains would continue until mid-afternoon.
In fact, at 6 a.m. the Meteorological Office of Trinidad and Tobago had issued a bulletin stating that "Tropical Storm Isaac dips south in the Caribbean Sea" and this country would experience some showers.
By 9.30 a.m. the Met Office issued another bulletin stating that "showers and thundershowers associated with Tropical Storm Isaac (would continue) for at least the next four to six hours".
These reports created hysteria among some commuters, who opted to return home after observing that the Maritime Roundabout in Barataria, South Quay and the City Gate exits in downtown Port of Spain had been submerged by flood waters.
"Look at water in this place. I need to go back home; next thing you see my place flood out," said Cheryl Moore as she stood in line at City Gate waiting for a bus to take her back to San Fernando.
Moore, along with hundreds of stranded commuters, had to wait for several hours as maxi-taxis and buses stopped working.
When the Express questioned the customer service representatives about the cancellation of service, we were told with the shrug of a shoulder that "buses don't float".
After the rain stopped falling by 9 a.m. social media were abuzz with reports of damage in Diego Martin, Maraval, Carenage, Cocorite, San Juan, Barataria, Santa Cruz, Erin, Siparia and Westmoorings.
When the Express visited the northern area, there were no signs of any new structural damage to homes and other private properties.
At 10 a.m. the only sign of flooding in the northwestern area was seen along the Western Main Road in front of Westmall, Westmoorings.
Over in Pelican Avenue, Morvant, Gillian Vincent was busy shovelling out buckets of water from her two-bedroom ground-floor apartment in the dark as residents experienced a power outage and a disruption in their water supply from as early as 7 a.m.
"I think I lost everything in this flood. All my child back-to-school things get damaged. Even her new (lunch) kit floated away in this water," Vincent lamented.
It was not the first time she experienced flood, but, according to Vincent, "this is the first time it come into the house".
"For years we have been calling on the San Juan/ Laventille Regional Corporation to try and fix the drain next to the house because every time rain falls it backs up into the yard," she said.
Vincent's neighbour, Jacqueline Dasent, was also aggrieved by the lack of attention given to their plight to have the drain fixed.
"I have been living here for 50 years now and this is the first time my place get flooded out like this."
"Look", she said, pointing to her china cabinet, "look at the water mark. The water reached three feet high, all my appliances, everything get damaged."
On top of the Laventille hills, Ann "The Queen" Thomas lost part of her roof when strong winds blew rain inside her house.
"At around 6.35 a.m. this morning all I hear was the roof pulling apart and before I know, half of the roof gone...and with all the heavy rain, everything inside my house get wet and damaged," she said.
Thomas said she lost her computer, mattresses, sewing machine and several other appliances in the disaster and was calling on the Government to assist.
Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, visited people affected by the early-morning showers in Laventille yesterday and promised to have the appliances and the mattresses delivered to her as soon as possible.
"We will give her back her things...and the Ministry of Housing will do the repairs," Alleyne-Toppin said.
Asked when the other people affected by rain and flood damage would be getting assistance, Alleyne-Toppin said the Government was working on it.
"You have to understand that there is more than 70,000 people who were affected by the flood two weeks ago...and the Government is working on establishing an Emergency Fund to deal with these cases," she said.
Over on Upper Erica Street in Laventille, the Pitt family were trying to pull out their belongings from underneath the pile of rubble that crashed through the back of their hilltop home.
Still dressed in her nightgown, 27-year-old Latoya Pitt said, "I had now wake up when the landslide happen. A little again I would have been underneath all that mud."
Latoya's father, Lawrence, was still in his bed before being roused by his daughter.
Still shaken from the ordeal, Lawrence said he and his son Carl used some pieces of wood to prop the half-concrete, half-wooden house up so they could retrieve some of their belongings.
When Laventille West MP NiLeung Hypolite visited the Pitts' home, he said it was the worst structural damage he had seen following the early-morning rain and urged the family to stay with a friend or relative for the next three days while he tried to get the necessary support. See Page 7