Even as the Ministry of Works mobilised a contractor to fix a major landslip at George Village, Tableland, water on Thursday continued to gush from a leaking pipeline where a house and part of the road collapsed a few weeks ago.
Watching the water shooting out from the burst main was painful for Derek Edwards, who lost his home because of the slippage.
His is among 20 families who are homeless due to landslips in the Moruga/Tableland constituency.
Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, Edwards said it was difficult to think about rebuilding his home.
“Losing your home is like losing your life,” he said, as he watched the remains of his house at the bottom of the hill.
He said since his home crumbled, he had been staying at a cousin’s house.
“I went several places for help, even went to Self Help, but nobody came or did anything,” he said.
His neighbour Andrew Valdez said it was sad to see how quickly the entire road went down.
“This water started to leak three weeks ago and they never fixed it. The road started to cave away and now it is single-lane traffic,” he said.
He noted that the dust from the landslip also poses a hazard.
“Every day is a traffic jam here because the cars have to wait to clear this area. We hear that they coming to fix it but we want to know what will happen to the people who lost their homes,” Valdez said.
Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said yesterday that the ministry does not provide compensation for the loss of property.
“That area is prone to landslips and we have several projects ongoing in the Tableland/Moruga area,” Sinanan said.
He said the road rehabilitation programme is ongoing.
“For the last year, 81 infrastructural projects have been contracted in rural areas of Trinidad. Works have been completed on forty of these projects and the remaining 41 are either ongoing or are scheduled to commence soon,” he said.
Out of 300 projects identified, Sinanan said for fiscal 2021/2022, approximately 27 per cent of the road projects are in rural areas and a total of $237 million had been spent to fix roads and landslips.
He added that the heavy rainfall since June had exacerbated the slippages at George Village, Tableland, noting that the soil type was the main reason why the land has continued to cave.
Sinanan said while he sympathised with the residents, it was up to the councillors and the MPs to make representation to access grants from the relevant State agencies.
General Assistance, Food Support, Self Help and Rental Assistance grants are available from the Social Development Ministry and the National Commission for Self Help.
But MP for Morga/Tableland Michelle Benjamin said these grants were insufficient and inaccessible to many people who have lost their homes to fires, landslips and other disasters.
She said 20 families have already lost their homes due to landslips in the Moruga/Tableland constituency.
Although representation is made, Benjamin said most of these families have not been able to access any grant or financial assistance from the State. She said special assistance should be given to families through the Housing Development Corporation.