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Maraval flood victims still waiting on Govt help

After one year...

By Aabida Allaham aabida.allaham@trinidadexpress.com

ONE year after having everything washed away by raging flood waters, several Maraval residents are still waiting on the Government to come to their assistance.

"I don't know if they think just because we are from Maraval we have money, but that is not true, right now I don't even have a job," said Natalie Luz.

The Express paid a visit to Gittens Avenue — which on November 18, 2011 was knee-high in water after the wall enclosing the Trinidad Country Club collapsed from the weight pushing against it — and met with Luz and three other residents who complained about Government's slow response.

Luz, who rents one of the Gittens Flats, said she lost everything in the flood and although she applied for assistance from the Government, none has been forthcoming.

"I think I lost more than $30,000 in furniture and appliances and when I submitted my claim they said that they were only going to fulfil applications of up to $10,000 so I did that...and one year later I am still waiting," she said.

Asked why she insisted on getting the assistance although she has been able to accumulate some of her lost appliances, Luz said it was a matter of principle.

Former works minister (now National Security Minister Jack) "Warner came here when we got flooded out and promised to assist, he told us to just write up all the things that we lost and we did that, most people have already let it go because it seems the Government does not care to assist, but I am not going to give up. They made a promise and they should keep it," she said.

Consuelo Serpa, 82, said she was homeless for three months following the November floods because everything in her home was damaged.

"I lost all my valuable pictures, all my appliances and even my bed when that wave of water come down...I applied for assistance and they told me I would get stove and a bed and I haven't gotten anything yet," she said.

The residents believe that the Government should compensate then because the wall that crumbled under the weight, was a wall that was built by the Government.

In fact, civil engineer Bill Agard conducted a visual study on the wall in December 2010 and found that "this wall is inadequate for retaining this height of earth and is likely to fail".

The wall was 23.33 feet at its highest point. Today it lies crumbled at the corner of Saddle Road.

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