Overnight rain leads to flooding in Penal/Debe

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

These dogs waddle through flood waters in Woodland. The community is impassable owing to torrential rain on Monday. – Photo by Marvin Hamilton

HEAVY rain on Sunday night left several areas in the Penal/Debe area flooded on Monday.

Residents there were concerned about additional flooding, with more bad weather on the horizon.

At Batchiya Trace, the road was impassable, with water estimated to be between two and three feet deep in some places. Drivers approaching the water were signalled either by residents or other drivers to turn back.

A backhoe was parked on one part of the road, preventing vehicles from passing in either direction. A resident said the backhoe was owned by another resident and he welcomed what the owner had done.

“That is a good thing. Last time it flooded, cars came driving through the water and send water into my property.”

Residents of Batchyia Trace, Penal, placed an excavator in the middle of the roadway to deter heavy vehicles passing through which pushes flood water from the streets into homes. – Photo by Marvin Hamilton

A second resident wearing tall rubber boots ventured into the water, carrying a plastic bag containing boxes of cooked food and a plastic container with a sliced cake inside. He said this was for people further up the road who could not leave their homes because of the floodwaters.

“We’re doing what we can to help. With more rain coming, things could get worse.”

In a post on his Facebook page, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal showed pictures of himself helping members of the Debe Islamic Association on Monday to prepare meals for flood victims in the Oropouche area. The post said Moonilal also co-ordinated with the NGO Sewa TT to distribute sandwiches in affected communities.

Another resident pointed to his chest and said the water reaches that high in some places when there is flooding.

Gopie Trace, Penal, impassable owing to heavy rainfall. A resident took a chance on Monday to walked through the floodwater. – Photo by Marvin Hamilton

At Gopie Trace, two residents said the road was covered by water in several places. They attributed the flooding to overflow from the South Oropouche River, which spills over into Suchit Trace and then into other areas.

One woman said the worst flooding she saw in Gopie Trace was in 2019.

“We had to evacuate our house then.”

She said she is closely monitoring the weather.

At Suchit Trace, streams of brown river water were flowing freely across the road.

A man sitting with his family in the upstairs porch of his house pointed to a thick area of vegetation on the other side of the road, to indicate where the flood waters were coming from.

In Woodland, water flooded the yards of several houses. At one house, two large dogs walked around in the brown floodwaters while a smaller dog sought refuge on top of a wooden crate.

The heavy rains also caused a landslide on Market Hill, close to the north entrance of the Penal Market. The Siparia constituency office of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is close to the market.

Newsday visited Suchit Trace Penal on Monday. These motorists took a chance driving through floodwater in the community. – Photo by Marvin Hamilton

Workers from the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation were on site early on Monday to clear away debris from the landslide.

The bad weather on Saturday prompted the Prime Minister to issue a national alert that Trinidad and Tobago was “experiencing a bad-weather emergency.”