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Heavy agricultural losses
Acres upon acres of crops were submerged in filthy water in Penal and Barrackpore yesterday as a result of overnight and persistent rains during the day.
Crop farmer Chabinath Ramnanan was almost brought to tears, as for the second time this year his fields in Penal were destroyed. Bodi, bhagi, tomatoes, eggplants and corn near harvesting were all gone.
“I don’t know how I am going to recover from this. Remember we suffered floods in June and I scraped up somehow to plant back. I don’t know how I am going to recover because this is my only source of income and I have a family to maintain,” Ramnanan said.
At 3 am, cattle farmer Dave Hercules waded through the rising swamp in Barrackpore to rescue his bulls and bison. With over 100 cattle, it was a Herculean task getting his animals to safety. His father Peter, on the other side of Wilson Road, lost his same, tomatoes, pumpkin, eggplant and hot pepper crops.
Several businesses in Barrackpore also had to close their doors as some parts of the Rochard Road and Rochard Douglas Road were impassable yesterday.
At Star Bay’s Chinese Restaurant and Bar, Jam Yang and his boys were busily securing sandbags at their door. But every time a truck passed they would have to scoop the water out quickly before it entered the restaurant.
Venturing outside was risky business, as the current of the overflowing Oropouche River almost toppled journalists in the field.
Penal Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy said the flood was as bad as those brought by Tropical Storm Bret last June. Up to late yesterday, the corporation was still trying to assess the damage.
However, he said since Bret no cleaning of waterways were done by the Ministry of Works and Transport or the Ministry of Agriculture.
“People are incensed because of what they are experiencing. We are extending a hand to the region, which we must do. There is a lot of emotional pain because you are extending North of Trinidad, but South of Port-of-Spain there has been no extension of help from the State,” Sammy said.