Floods distress families in Penal/ Debe

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

These children sit outside a flooded home at Molly Street, Debe, on Thursday morning, while furniture is placed on a roof to dry. – Marvin Hamilton

Although the heavy rains had stopped on Thursday, flood waters continued to rise in the Penal, Debe, and Woodland, cutting off communities and distressing many families.

At Molly Street, Debe, residents said they began putting sandbags on the roadside at the front of their homes on Wednesday night. The efforts were not enough to save them from flooding. The road is near the bank of the South Oropouche River.

Water from a river to the back of their homes flooded the streets. Almost all the houses along the road were surrounded by murky water.

Families at Molly Street, Debe, cook outside while waiting for floods to recede on Thursday. – Marvin Hamilton

A member of the Marcano family of Venezuela told Newsday that around 1 am on Thursday, the family tried to save a couch set from the flood waters. They put the set on top of the roof, but rain fell early and wet it.

The Nowrang family said water flooded their homes on Wednesday night within minutes. A total of ten relatives, including four children, live in two houses that are joined.

The family complained about the water being rat-invested. The children spent the night in cars in the driveway. Neil Nowrang and other relatives tried to save toys and other items by putting them on the rooftop.

One of the homes at Molly Street, Debe, which was still surrounded by floodwater on Thursday. – Marvin Hamilton

With their homes flooded and items destroyed, the family pitched a tent in the yard and began cooking outdoors.

“We do not have money to buy food for everyone, so we are cooking. Things are hard right now. My brother recently lost his work and has two children to take care of. We would be happy to get help from anyone. No one has helped us with anything,” a relative said.

Livestock farmer Vinod Lutchman said he, his brother Anil, and other relatives have been monitoring the water level since Wednesday evening.

Lutchman said, “Around 1 am, I got up and saw water all over. My brother took all the children from the house to a relative and left them there. I mind ducks and pigs. Last week we had a flood, and I lost eight piglets. The water got in the pen and drowned them.”

The Keith Khan family was not able to sleep on Wednesday night.

“Nobody slept last night. We put many items on higher ground, but the water keeps rising. We have ducks and chickens at the back, but we cannot go to feed them. This water would take about three to four days to go down and no one is helping us,” a family member said.

The Penal Debe Regional Corporation’s disaster management unit (DMU) visited several affected residents.

A family in Debe on Thursday. – Marvin Hamilton

Part of Debe Trace, Debe, which connects to Suchit Trace, Penal, was impassable. Puzzle Island, a nearby community in Penal, was cut off.

Tulsa Trace was also severely affected. The South Oropouche River burst its bank and was “spewing water into Rahamut Trace.”

People who needs sandbags can collect them at the corporation’s office at SS Erin Road in Debe between 8 am to 4 pm. They can also call the DMU at 647-0961/7012 ext 203.

At Pluck Road, Woodland, rising flood waters made the road impassable.