Dr Stephen Ramroop, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) said yesterday about “60 per cent of the people affected” were restored to some level of normalcy in the aftermath of yesterday’s early morning flooding in the Diego Martin area.
Ramroop also said there were 65 calls to the 511 Call Centre. Some displaced people sought shelter at the Diego Martin Central Community Centre, at Wendy Fitzwillam Boulevard, Diego Martin. The cleanup and restoration operations were undertaken in tandem with the Diego Martin Regional Corporation and a number of agencies like Ministry of the People, Cepep, engineers and fire services.
Ramroop added: “No one has lost any life. We try to save peoples’ lives. Those that are deemed at risk, we advise them to go higher up (another floor) or temporarily move to homes where they will be safer.”
Ramroop said when a disaster struck the first emergency responders like the fire, police and the military rushed to the scene. Then a damage and needs assessment was done to prioritise assistance for affected citizens.
Ramroop said there were people in the shelters but he did not divulge much information about them.
He said: “We have shared that list with the agencies. And we are making sure no one gets left out. We have people in the shelters. And we are giving them basic necessities including water, food and clothing. We are giving them medical attention, access to healthcare and safety and security. But it’s a human rights thing. We don’t want to give out too much information.”
On Thursday, Ganga Singh, Minister of Environment and Water Resources, said Cabinet had approved a $756 million flood alleviation and drainage programme for Port-of-Spain. Recently flash flooding occurred in areas like Aranjuez, Curepe, Maracas/St Joseph, Mt Hope, Mt Lambert, St Augustine and Tunapuna.
Asked about the Minstry’s intervention, Ramroop said ODPM led a team of relevant agencies in the development of a draft national flood policy for T&T. They had prepared flood maps.
He said: “It has been circulated to all authorities for review. Subsequent to this we have been working to develop an integrated national flood risk management plan. It is on the basis of this plan all other subsequent or current planning for flood management including the IDB funded project in Port-of-Spain can be aligned.”
He added: “It will have to be discussed. It is not just for Diego Martin but for the country. There is Science in it like Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We will map the areas that have been flooded before. There are different types of flooding like riverine and fluvial (water runoff). We need specific things for areas like Toco and St Helena. The money will be spent in such a way that at the end, we are getting value for money.”