Government’s obligation to protect the inhabitants of Caroni, a flood zone

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Ibis Gardens resident Jerome Moses examines the eroded bank of the Caroni River at Jacobin Drive, Caroni on August 5. To the left is the area where the shore once stood. – Stock photo

MP for Chaguanas West Dinesh Rambally said it was the duty of the government through its line ministries and the governing local government corporation to ensure that urgent repairs to the Caroni River are carried out to repair eroded dykes to avert potential disaster in the next flood.

Rambally, in a letter sent to Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, Faris Al-Rawi and President of Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, Kwasi Robinson, said on Friday that “These entities have a duty to exercise due diligence when clearing rivers and repairing levees so that normal flood waters do not inundate surrounding lands and damage homes and properties.”

He said it is also the duty of state agencies to properly maintain the necessary drains, river channels, sluice gates, flood shutters and that failure to do so is tantamount to negligence.

Rambally said residents of the neighboring communities of Ibis Gardens, Caroni Village, La Paille Gardens and La Paille Colony face an imminent threat of flooding unless urgent action is taken. to repair the river embankment in several areas that have collapsed or are on the verge of failure.

Last week, several homes in these communities were flooded after flood traps and sluices were found to be inoperative and pumps brought in to bail out the water were inadequate.

Rambally, who circumnavigated the river last Wednesday in a boat, said the embankment along the Old Caroni River (up Persad Street) and the banks along the Caroni River, particularly at the gardens of the Ibis, the village of Caroni, the gardens of La Paille and the colony of La Paille. (at the Tullock Street extension) are in need of urgent repairs.

He suggested that ‘straightening’ the flow of the river at the Tullock Street extension and repairing the sluice gates and flood flaps along the river, particularly in the area of ​​the village of Caroni, was doing part of the proactive measures the government could take.

Rambally said the regional company can help clear debris from waterways and deliver much-needed dirt to rebuild compromised embankments.

He also wants the company to help residents clear flooded cesspools in Caroni village and widen secondary drains, near Vishnu Boy’s Hindu College, among short-term measures to be implemented immediately.

Some of the long-term measures, he suggested, include sirens to warn residents of fast-draining floods, the installation of safety signs, readily available sandbags and industrial water pumps on standby.

Rambally said that “serious consideration should be given to whether it is necessary to issue a local state of emergency in situations where there is potential and/or there is in fact damage, injury or widespread or severe loss of life or property. A declaration of a local state of emergency will ensure activation of the basic response and recovery aspects of all applicable emergency operations plans and the authorized supply for help, assistance and guidance in connection with these plans.”

The MP said health care teams should be ready to respond as the floods recede to help those most in need and that all attempts should be made to settle emergency relief claims. flood.

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