All is still not well for residents in the Greenvale, La Horquetta development, as scores of families are remain displaced because their homes are under heavy construction.
During a visit to the community yesterday, many residents were seen trying feverishly to get their lives back in order after the disastrous flooding which occurred on October 19. Many homes were virtually empty inside and all the residents’ furniture and appliances were covered in their yards because inside their home were still uninhabitable in some cases.
One resident said people on the outside think that things were better but they are not.
“People on the outside are being told that our lives in Greenvale are back to normal and everything is ok with us but it is not. My children are not here with me. My house still needs a lot more work to be done. We wouldn’t even be done for Christmas,” a mother of two who did not want to be named, said.
“All my tiles raised, kitchen cupboards and doors gone through with the waters and now there are a lot of factors that keeping us back…the weather or workers too slow or the cheques took a little long to hand out to us and as soon as it did the money disappeared in a flash…but that was not enough to even touch the tip of the iceberg.”
Another resident, Thaddeus Caraballo, said so far he had spent close to $20,000 in addition to the relief cheque he got.
“I have my family to see about….my son, girlfriend and my mother, who is a cancer patient. It is very hard that I have become scared when usually I am a mentally focused person. My experience in what I went through and my neighbours was like a living nightmare,” Caraballo said.
“In trying to get my house back in order I have slept many nights with no doors and all my things outside.”
He said he had cast his yard in concrete and even built concrete kitchen cupboards because “I’m afraid that we can be hit by flooding again and then everything will be back to square one.”
Yesterday, La Horquetta/Talparo MP Maxie Cuffie held a Thanksgiving Service at “The Triangle” of the housing development for residents, but there was a poor turnout. At times during the service, there were intervals where the sound of construction tools and the shovelling of gravel overpowered the service’s PA system.
One resident who spoke during the service said she thanked God for life and described how traumatic her experience was.
“I remember just seeing the water crossing my steps and then suddenly it came down in a raging gush…I was home alone at the time and remember looking downstairs and seeing a snake and water all around…then the electricity went and I was left in total darkness in this state.”
Another resident, who wished not to be identified, said many of them need counselling services, which he said was initially offered by Ministry of Social Development officials. However, he added that it was difficult to actually access the service as they were told to visit the ministry’s Tunapuna office for help.
“We are already in distress. My car was under water. How could we have left the area in this state to go for counselling? We still need it here and we are hearing nothing.”
He added that since the flooding he has been hearing from public officials that they would start remedial works in the area, but to date he has seen no sign of this.
In a brief and emotional address to residents, Cuffie said the developer had presented to him a remedial plan.
“I have since shared that plan with the Minister of Works and the plan could not just be for Greenvale but all areas that experienced flooding and the Prime Minister said that Government would be using all that is necessary to ensure that we prevent this from happening again and I have the faith that we will get action to ensure that we don’t have to be worried every time it sets to rain.”