Last update: 11-Dec-2013 3:23 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Relief efforts well in place, says Suruj
Some 570 people from various agencies were mobilised to assist with the aftermath of yesterday’s flooding in Diego Martin. Local Government Minister Surujrattan Rambachan spoke with the media during the lunch break at yesterday’s budget debate in Parliament. Giving a breakdown, Rambachan said: “We had mobilised 220 from Cepep, 50 people from URP, members of the Red Cross and 200 workers from the Diego Martin Regional Corporation.
“Apart from that there were 36 pieces of equipment mobilised by ten this morning.” He said these included dump trucks, vacuum cleaners used in houses, water trucks and several backhoes. After two hours of intense rainfall, streets and homes were heavily flooded, Rambachan said.
Apart from himself touring the area and speaking to affected residents, Rambachan said Ganga Singh, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Justice Minister Emmanuel George and National Security Minister Gary Griffith were also on the spot.
“Our first task at this moment is to bring back a sense of normalcy to people’s lives as quickly as possible,” he said.
“The engineering battalion from the Defence Force has also been deployed by the national security minister in terms of both equipment and personnel.” He said damage assessment was still ongoing and was being done by the Red Cross and the Ministry of the People and Social Development. Displaced families can find temporary relief at the Diego Martin Community Centre which Rambachan said was organised from 7 am yesterday.
“It was opened much earlier, but people started coming to that centre at around that time. But I can’t as yet give exact numbers,” Rambachan added. Health and the maintenance of proper hygiene were also a concern, as the downpour also resulted in flooded cesspits. Rambachan said three cesspool emptiers from three different regional corporations were being used to empty cesspits as quickly as possible.
“We are very concerned about the hygiene aspects and the health aspects and we’re moving very expeditiously to deal with that,” he said. “A command centre has also been set up and manned under the Diego Martin Regional Corporation’s chairman, Mr Anthony Sammy, and we had our first meeting this morning.”
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