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Evacuate Coffee Beach residents now—PNM MP
La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey is calling for the immediate evacuation of residents from the oil-spill-affected Coffee Beach, La Brea. The MP, speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, says he was fearful residents might develop long-term health problems because of their prolonged exposure to hydrocarbon fumes from the oil spill near their homes.
“There are times when the scent is really bad and it may have long-term consequences for the little ones. I am very worried about that. They should evacuate the whole area until the whole situation is under control,” he said.
Eleven days ago, oil started washing ashore at Coffee Beach and residents have been enduring the nauseating scent of oil. A major clean-up campaign is continuing in the area as the state-owned oil and gas company, Petrotrin, tries to contain the oil spill that has ravaged the south-western coastline. The source of the leak has not yet been identified. Yesterday, those clean-up efforts continued and reports suggest that there has been improvement the air quality and the oil damage along the beach.
Petrotrin officials have said arrangements have been made for residents to be evacuated to the La Brea community centre until mopping-up operations are completed. But Jeffrey said the centre was woefully inadequate and residents would have to sleep in cots in an open area. “They would be very uncomfortable with the site,” he said. “They would like to be in their own house. This oil spill happened through no fault of theirs. People have their pride.” He said the residents “need urgent attention.”
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