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Householders hit hard in deluge
Millions of dollars in furniture, appliances, vehicles and household items floated in muddy waters as residents continued mop-up operations late yesterday at Petit Valley, Dibe, Alyce Glen, Woodbrook and other areas in west Trinidad. The heavy downpour began around 2 am and persisted for hours, causing havoc and devastation to homes and businesses. Wrought-iron gates were uprooted, hundreds of metres of roads collapsed and parked vehicles were overturned.
The La Seiva River in Maraval and the Creek River in Dibe Road burst their banks. Several residents said it was the worst they had seen in years. One said it was an act of God. At Leo Bass Avenue in Alyce Glen, 80-year-old Phyllis Lastique, who was stranded in her house, had to be rescued by resident Ricky Gomez, who used a dinghy to take her out of waist-high water. Another resident, who sought safety on her roof in Diego Martin was also rescued by the protective services.
Estimating his losses to be tens of thousands was Matthew Pariag. His family lost their two vehicles, which were both waterlogged, and also everything in his house. Pariag and a clean-up crew cleared sludge and debris at his Chuma Monka Avenue home.
He said: “This is the first time we got it so bad.” Some residents wondered whether they would receive compensation for their losses. Others complained of a lack of pipeborne water and clean-up crews.
The walls of many of the homes behind the Crystal Stream River crumbled under the force of the raging waters. At Palm Avenue West in Petit Valley, Jonathan Mohammed said his parents’ home was surrounded by seven feet of water. Richard Boyack said it was the first time he had experienced such a disaster, and all his children’s toys were washed away and most of his furniture damaged.
A few of his friends were sanitising dishes and discarding items that had been destroyed. Suitcases, toys, small appliances and furniture were stacked in a pile outside his home to be picked up by garbage collectors. The Majuba Cross Road was impassable as a mini-excavator moved briskly in an effort to clear the area. Logs, old appliances and plastic bottles littered many of the streets in Petit Valley. Almost every driveway was covered in at least six inches of thick mud.
Three dogs at All Creatures Pet Hospital on the Diego Martin Main Road had to be rescued by the owner, Sandra March. She said they were frightened and disoriented. Blaming poor drainage for the deluge, an emotional March said while lives were lost, animals were also affected.
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