As regional corporations spent yesterday preparing for the impact of an incoming tropical wave, Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation (TPRC) Kwasi Robinson urged people to preserve their lives first should disasters occur.
Robinson said people often venture into floodwaters, seeking to save property. They sometimes lead to people being swept away by floodwater or suffering injuries.
“Just try to secure your person. Personal safety is important first, and then property. Often times people try to go into floodwaters to save their vehicles or to go back in to save property. I think the preservation of human life is most important, and we understand why you are doing it,” said Robinson.
At 2 pm yesterday, the United States National Hurricane Centre (NHC) reported that the tropical wave produced showers and thunderstorm activity near the southern Windward Islands. The system continued to show signs of organisation and would likely become a tropical depression within the next couple of days. The NHC stated that the chance of the wave upgrading to a tropical depression in 48 hours was 70 per cent and 90 per cent over the next five days.
Robinson said the region was vulnerable to landslides, especially in the Blachisseuse, Morne La Croix, Lopinot, Maracas and Madamas communities in the Northern Range. He said crews responded to four landslips in the past three weeks. Street and flash floods occur in the low-lying areas of Kelly Village, Arouca, Trincity, Cunupia, St Augustine, Piarco and Greenvale. He said the TPRC was always ready regardless of the weather systems.
Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation (DMRC) Sigler Jack said crews are ready to respond to the impact of the incoming tropical wave in a region comprising hilly terrain. Unlike some municipalities, the DMRC has large hills, especially in Diego Martin, Petite Valley, Carenage and Maraval. Jack explained that during heavy rainfall, the volume of water gushing down often coincides with high tide, flooding the lower parts. Additionally, with people living on hills and in valleys, landslides and floodwater crashing into homes are possible.
He said following Tuesday’s coordinating meeting with Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Faris Al-Rawi, the DMRC held internal discussions.
“All systems are more or less in place. We are on high alert, although the water advisory is still yellow. We are doing a lot of tracking of the impending storm. At this point, all we can do is wait,” Jack said.
He added the DMRC cleaned watercourses ahead of the rain. Regardless of whether the DMRC equipment will be enough to meet the demands of a possible disaster, Jack assured residents that they are working alongside the Defence Force, Fire Service and other disaster management and response agencies.
Meanwhile, the Penal/Debe Region Corporation Chairman Dr Allen Sammy oversaw workers preparing sandbags to distribute to residents across the municipality ahead of the tropical wave. The PDRC had 2,500 sandbags in stock and workers were ready to provide more. Sammy said the PDRC distributed bags earlier this year, so some residents already have them placed at their homes.
Sammy said that while the watercourses in the municipality were low, there was ground saturation, meaning that persistent rain would raise river levels quickly.
Sammy added the PDRC has over 100 tarpaulins, 150 cases of water and canned food. There are also water pumps in case water enters homes, power saws to clear fallen trees and equipment operators standing by.
“I want to assure the public that if there is an urgent need for supplies of these types, they should call us on our hotline: 800-7372, and we will react immediately,” Sammy said.