While some parts of the country experienced crippling water shortages over the past 72 hours, over 150 families in Cedros were left marooned yesterday when flood waters invaded the community of Bonasse.
A rising tide coupled with one hour of heavy rainfall caused the flooding which settled inside residents’ yards and homes.
Deodath Toolsie and his wife Eileen tried to put their furniture and appliances on higher ground when the floods started to rise.
“We have about 18 inches of water inside the house right now. It was terrible, the worst I have seen so far,” Eileen explained before passing the phone to her husband.
Toolsie said the floods were caused by an incomplete floodgate.
“Right now the whole house and the entire village is flooded. I lost my couch. The fridge is wet so we don’t know how long it will last us now.
“The drain that they construct was a bad engineering. The entire village has floods from the hospital onwards. We had about three feet of water here. We are bailing out water from inside the house,” Toolsie added.
He said the rain started falling around 11 am and as the floods began to rise students were kept inside the school compound. By 2 pm, a team from the Siparia Regional Corporation went to Bonasse and began clearing the watercourses.
Councillor Shankar Teelucksingh said the floodgates and the bridge at Bonasse were supposed to have been completed earlier this year by the Ministry of Works. However, he said the problem was compounded because there had been no de-silting of rivers and drains since 2015.
“The floodgates were redesigned to allow low water run-off but this is inappropriate because Cedros is below sea level, so once there are high tides and heavy rains the community will flood,” Teelucksingh said.
Teelucksingh said more than 150 families from Bonasse Village were directly affected but noted it may also take a few days for the water to subside in some areas.
“This is the second time we are having this problem. The last time villagers were not compensated. The schools were filled with water today and I am calling on the Minister of Works to respond now,” Teelucksingh said.
He added that the ambulance and police vehicles could not pass through the floods and traffic backed up along the Southern Main Road as the flood waters cut off access to the villages of Fullarton and Icacos.
Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan was in the Senate yesterday and could not respond to questions.
Last May, however, Sinanan said a contractor had already been paid to restart and complete work on the Cedros Bridge and the floodgates within six weeks, well before the height of the rainy season. However, the project, which is 90 per cent completed, remains at a standstill as the contractor is owed $4.5 million.