As the cracks continue to appear, evacuation plans have been prepared for Piparo residents should the mud volcano blow.
Five days after the Piparo volcano rumbled to life, the residents still have not been evacuated.
However, the authorities have developed an emergency evacuation route directing residents which way to run if the volcano blows.
During a multi-ministerial meeting with residents yesterday, all residents living to the west of the volcano were advised to proceed along Piparo Road through Guaracara Junction and gather at Riversdale Presbyterian Primary School in the event of an eruption.
Those living to the east of the volcano were advised to proceed along Piparo Road to the Piparo Community Centre.
Maps were distributed to residents making it easy for a quick exit.
One family living close to the volcano’s main vent who could go neither east or west was advised to go to an area through the woods to get onto Piparo Road.
But resident Baldath Ramnarine complained that the roads (Hoseinee Trace, Sancho Road, Nivet Road and Stone Road) around the volcano were so deplorable that getting in and out would be treacherous.
Chairman of Princes Town Regional Corporation Gowrie Roopnarine said they were on ticking time bomb and they desperately needed 20 tonnes of hot mix asphalt to fix Hoseinee Trace and other roads leading to the disaster zone. A bridge had collapsed at Hoseinee Trace making the area impassable and the Corporation is in the process of fixing it.
“If the Ministry of Works can give us this material we will provide the labour and fix the road so that in the event of an eruption, we will be able to exit quickly,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of the ODPM, Major General Rodney Smart called for volunteers to be trained by the T&T Fire Services so they can become part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Four people volunteered.
Smart said they were mapping the area and based on advice from Touchstone Exploration senior geoscientist Xavier Moonan, a .9 kilometre zone and a .5 kilometre buffer zone were identified for evacuation.
“This plan is a work in progress. Let us find viable routes and go to the designated shelters in the event of an emergency,” he said.
Acting Chief Fire Officer (South) Clunis Wallen called on residents to develop an alarm system that will alert all residents when the emergency occurs.
However, resident Shamshadeen Hosein said they already started a Whatsapp group among themselves to share information quickly. He questioned how soon the volcano will blow.
Moonan said based in surveys done, the fissures were widening.
“There are numerous fractures not at the current vent. Our team from the University of the West Indies observed blasts every 30 seconds and the ground was shaking and small amounts of mud were being shot up in the air on Sunday. This is not the norm. There has been no earthquake or seismic activity and this is an entirely different scale of activity happening here,” Moonan said.
He noted that a tilt metre was needed to monitor the site which will wirelessly send signals back to the UWI base for analysis.
If this type of equipment was available, Moonan said they will be able to make a more accurate prediction of the impending eruption.
Another resident said they were concerned that all the electrical poles were leaning and if the lines collapsed during an eruption, they will be trapped.
Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein who attended the community meeting after the sitting of the Senate, immediately spoke with TTEC’s general manager Kevin Ramsook about the leaning electrical lines. Hosein also spoke with Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan.
Hosein later assured the residents that the 20 tonnes of the hot mix will be provided to fix the roads. He promised to speak to his colleagues in the Ministry of Housing to determine whether accommodation could be provided to the Solomon family, whose home has been severely damaged by cracks. That family has been forced to leave their home.
However, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath called for accommodation to be provided to all the affected residents.
The volcano was very quiet yesterday and officials reiterated that despite this facade of peace, all residents and citizens should refrain from entering the site as it poses a danger.