Caroni River bank collapses at Ibis Gardens

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Ibis Gardens resident Jerome Moses surveys the eroding bank of the Caroni River at Jacobin Drive, Caroni on Friday. At left, the area where the bank once stood. Photo by Darren Bahaw

A significant portion of the Caroni riverbank collapsed overnight north of Ibis Gardens, a Housing Development Corporation site south of the river, sparking panic among residents.

Approximately 20 feet of the riverbank was washed away near a bend in the swollen river near Jacobin Drive.

An emergency crew from the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation’s disaster management crew took footage of the damaged area.

Disaster is feared if the rest of the berm collapses.

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan said in a telephone interview that the ministry’s engineers are aware of the problem, but residents said they had not seen any staff from the ministry on Friday morning or Thursday night.

Residents who live close by said the bank began to erode about two months ago and they made numerous reports to Ministry of Works.

They fear with more rainfall predicted, the remaining berm will totally collapse and the main course of the river will flow through the development, causing havoc. The Met Office has forecast more rain.

Some residents have already began to remove their cars and put household items at higher levels.

They are pleading for immediate assistance to erect a temporary steel sheet barricade supported by concrete piles to prevent the berm from being further eroded.

Local government councillor Richard Rampersad and Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally have both been in touch with residents as the Caroni River threatens to overspill in several other areas, such as New Street Extension, where the bank is a mere six inches from the road.

In an interview on Friday, Rampersad said the situation was a potential risk to life and limb, and called on the Works Ministry to take immediate steps to alleviate the fears of the residents of Caroni and Ibis Gardens.