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Drivers stranded for over 5 hours

Published: 
Friday, October 20, 2017
Flood waters cross highway at Chase Village
Tired and frustrated motorists look at the flooded Solomon Hochoy Highway at the Chase Village Flyover on Wednesday night. PICTURES RISHI RAGOONATH

Trinidad is sinking! All must be held responsible!

Those were some of the remarks made Wednesday night by motorists who were among thousands stranded along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, Chase Village, due to severe flooding caused after a nearby river burst its banks.

The Caroni River also burst its banks yesterday afternoon, causing severe flooding in several areas including Las Lomas, Golden Grove Road, Chin Chin Road and Madras.

In Mamoral, villagers rescued a family, including a five-year-old girl, after their car was swept away by the raging flood waters. Villagers had to tie themselves with ropes to get to and rescue the family from the waters.

Residents in Caparo, who were also hit hard by disastrous flooding, are also now fearing a Cholera outbreak as the raging flood waters swept away scores of cesspit covers causing raw sewerage to spill into homes.

Wednesday was the first time in over 20 years that Chase Village had experienced such flooding. In some parts, there was said to be water four feet high.

The water also crossed both lanes of the highway, causing standstill traffic for more than five hours. Some people were forced to sleep in their cars while waiting for waters to subside. Not until 6.30 am were some people allowed to proceed to their respective homes from the “Triangle” at Chase Village.

Businessman Robert Soogrim, of the Fit for Life Pharmacy, said it was the first time he had ever experienced such flooding in the area.

“My pharmacy was flooded. I lost a lot of stocks, too much to ascertain a monetary cost of losses. A lot of things have to be thrown out. We expect the worst again because more rains are expected to come. I have been here 20 years, never saw that before.”

Sachindev Jagassar, from Chandernagore, said it was the first time in seven years he had seen so much flooding in his area.

“People’s homes were under so much water that many lost furniture and appliances. Before I left home today I made sure to put sand bags by my door just in case more flood come up. It was like an ocean.”

One of the residents in Madras, who wished not to be identified, told the T&T Guardian alleged a developer in the area had blocked one of the major water courses.

“People are irresponsible and blocking the water courses and developing land, building up structures all over and we the people have to suffer like this. Our homes are under five feet of water. Who will compensate us? Who will hold the responsibility of this?” the Madras resident said.

Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation chairman Henry Awong said he received scores of reports from Caparo residents who feared a possible health scare because of the flooding.

“I was told that many cesspit covers were washed away by the floods causing sewer to be all over. This is a potential health hazard and I have several crews out there assessing,” Awong said.

“This is one of the worst I have ever experienced. Storm Bret has nothing to do with what happened here overnight. Several areas that never flooded in years flooded, including Freeport, Chase Village, Carapichaima.”

Awong pleaded with the Local Government Ministry to join the corporation’s efforts to bring much relief to those affected.