EMBD tells Claxton Bay residents affected by major landslip: Get out, land still moving

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A view of the rippling soil at Diamond Road, Claxton Bay, which caused one house to collapse and left five others on the brink, last week. Photo by Roger Jacob.

Seven months after a major landslip destroyed one house and displaced several families in Claxton Bay, the Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd (EMBD) wrote to affected residents on Monday.

The letter, titled “Urgent relocation,” was signed by EMBD’s CEO Judy Beepath-Ramjohn.

It said the company’s investigation into the September 15 landslip at Diamond Road recently revealed further movement of the landslip is projected for later this year, considering the expected rain in the upcoming wet season.

Marva Fritz, whose house is on the brink of collapse, got her letter and other affected residents were expected to get similar letters on Tuesday.

The letter said: “The consequence of further movement is that the structural integrity and habitability of a few properties is highly likely to be adversely affected, with your property being identified as one such property.”

It said investigations suggest a real and substantial risk that her property will be altogether destroyed in the event of a further landslip. It added that given the nature and magnitude of the existing landslip, remedial work to the slope isnot practical, and cannot be done safely.

Even if the work could be undertaken, it could not be done in the short term and certainly not before the rainy season.

The EMMBD said it was writing because of this situation and to ensure people living in these properties remain safe.

It said continued occupation of the property is unsafe, so it recommended as a matter of urgency that all residents relocate “to avoid serious injury or loss of life.”

The EMBD emphasised that the notification was not an admission of liability for the landslip or any related issues.

It also added that is residents chose to remain in their houses, which it strongly advised against, “You shall do so at risk to your safety.”

When the massive landslip rocked the community, Giles Garcia and his family lost their entire property and had to rush to safety before daybreak.