They have been risking their lives caring for patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet, when they return home, two Central medics have no water to wash their hands—an act world medical experts say is one of the best measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The doctors, who are operate at one of the country’s medical hubs, but whose names have been withheld to protect their identities, have been suffering because of a water shortage in their community. A ruptured water main has left more than 100 households with dry taps.
During an interview with Guardian Media Thursday, a relative Sharon Persad (not her real name), said they were terrified that if they do not get water soon, they will be unable to protect themselves from illness and possibly death.
“In my household we have two doctors and we cannot even have water to wash their scrubs. When they come home we have to take their scrubs and bag it. They leave their shoes outside. We do not have water to wash clothes. We are using a lot of hand sanitiser because we do not want to waste the water. Right now we are down to one rim of water. Three tanks are dry,” she said.
Persad said residents had not received water for three weeks and when they did it came only for two hours.
“People in the lower areas got some but not us,” she added.
But the doctors and their family are not alone at this time, as other parts of the country have also been suffering for a regular water supply at a time when keeping surroundings clean are essential to the fight against COVID-19.
In a statement Thursday, the Water and Sewerage Authority confirmed that parts of Central Trinidad would be without water last night because the authority had to carry out repair work on a 16-inch transmission pipeline in Carolina. WASA said the areas that would be affected by a disruption in supply of at least 12 hours were Windsor Park, Carolina, Balmain and Milton.
MP for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh also said yesterday that constituents in Milton, Carolina, Balmain Gardens, Violet Drive and Calcutta Nos 1, 2 and 3 have been complaining about a water problem for weeks. Indarsingh said he had written to Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte seeking relief. He said regional managers from WASA also informed him that there was a problem with the Dow Village booster pump.
Central resident Shalima Ramkissoon said her community had been having constant water woes and they had been forced to buy water.
“We are seeing problems for too long. ... I don’t know what they trying to do now. It is an area where plenty poor people live and if people do not have water to clean they will be at risk,” Ramkissoon said.
Lawrence John said his wife had been washing clothes at her elderly sister’s home in Montrose, Chaguanas, for the past two weeks but with the enhanced quarantine measures they could not do so again because both the sister and her husband were at high risk to contract COVID-19 because of their age and health issues, He said his kitchen garden had died.
“We were using kitchen water to keep them alive but now we cannot even water them. I added a 400 gallon tank and seven plastic barrels, the latter for the plants, but was not able to fill them up cause the water never came back,” he said.
Another Central resident, Cherry Ramdath said she had paid $200 for a tank of water.
“It is not right. They must do something about this,” she said.