Real Springs residents face murky Xmas after flooding

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the Defence Force, HDC Facilities Management and MTS were on hand to help residents of Real Springs, Valsayn South, with clean-up on Wednesday. Photo by Roger Jacob

In Real Springs, Valsayn South, the Christmas mood has been dampened as residents check to see if their decorations are salvageable. In Madras Road, St Helena, a man waited in vain for hours for roadside assistance after his car shut down in floodwater and officials prepare for exams at a school-turned-shelter.

Roberto Harewood has lived at his Rincon Circular, Real Springs, home for three years. He said, “We’ve been flooded here before, but it usually reaches by the drive way alone.

“This time, with the excessive rainfall, the water end up straight inside. Some of us weren’t able to move all our stuff fast enough. It have plenty losses here.

Members of the Defence Force, HDC Facilities Management and MTS were on hand to help residents of Real Springs, Valsayn South, with clean-up on Wednesday. Photo by Roger Jacob

“My Christmas tree brown, it was a white tree. It fall down, end up in the dirty water, so it turn brown now. That have to throw away. I not gonna keep that. The thing smelling bad.

“It was water mix with cesspit water. So I not suggesting nobody who get their things soak, to keep it. It’s faeces water.”

Aiding residents in their efforts, members of the Defence Force and workers attached to the Housing and Development Corporation (HDC) were cleaning, power washing and scrubbing driveways.

A mother of two, also on that street, was cleaning to the sound of soca music blaring from a nearby sound system. She had put her four-piece living room set on the roadside.

She said residents begged HDC for a retaining wall because her neighbours who had one, though next door, were not flooded.

The resident said, “They come as a reactive measure and they bring sandbags when we’re already flooded. They don’t do anything before.

“They built a sand bank behind the houses, posted a video on HDC website about flood mitigation and two days later water was gushing past the sand bags.”

Members of the Defence Force, HDC Facilities Management and MTS were on hand to help residents of Real Springs, Valsayn South, with clean-up on Wednesday. Photo by Roger Jacob

When Newsday visited Madras Road at noon on Wednesday, Vincent Hewitt had been waiting there since 5.30 am. His car shut down while driving through floodwaters in front a mosque. People at the mosque helped him to get the car to dry land. Hewitt lives in Cunupia and was going home after a night in Valencia.

He said he did not want to pass through Caroni “because they tell me they have plenty thing there, so I try to rush down here.

“When I reach down in the middle there, that was it. That water inside there rough. It pull off the hub cap, pull out the shield, all kind of thing.”

Hewitt said he was waiting there all day. A few mechanics came but he had already called roadside assistance since 7 am. He was told that the service was not available during flooding.

“To come where I am, you don’t have to come through the water, if you coming from Kelly side or Piarco. That’s what I say. So I waiting.”

While Hewitt waited, vans and trucks were able to drive past the mosque but small cars had to turn around.

Resident Naipaul Ramgoolie said, “Come back when the river go down, you go see tyre in that river. They have about a thousand.”

He said the authorities were not cleaning the Madoosingh river, “That’s what cause the flooding.”

Later, Newsday visited Vishnu Boys’ College, Caroni. An official said school had been closed since Monday as the school was permitted by the secretary general of the Maha Sabha to be an emergency shelter. Newsday was told a request to the school was made by MP Dinesh Rambally, as 40 families in La Paille were displaced by the flood, and community centres were inaccessible.

The official said end-of-term exams at the college would begin on Thursday and special arrangements would be made for those students still under floodwater.

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