Reform/Manahambre braces for flooding, calls for drainage work

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo/Angelo Marcelle

RESIDENTS of Reform/Manahambre are bracing for heavy floods in the area this rainy season.

On Monday, councillor Chris Hosein gave Newsday a tour of some of the usually heavily-hit areas in Reform, which included Railway Road.

He said residents were waiting anxiously for the destruction and damage floods cause to their homes, appliances, furniture and animals.

“They are fearful and are now bracing for the inevitable floods with the intense rainfall expected during this hurricane season.

“Each year we repeat the same sickening cycle.

“I plead with the Ministry of Works and Transport for the necessary dredging and clearing of watercourses to mitigate flooding and, as predictable, we are ignored,” Hosein said.

Hosein chided the Government for what he described as its unwillingness to address this situation, which he said has caused continuous distress for the residents.

He claimed they were being ignored by the Government, citing “geographical discrimination.”

“Earlier this year, at the very beginning of the dry season, I made a public call for work to commence and urged the government to take a proactive approach to address the flooding issue.

“That was, of course, ignored. And when the floods come, they will also be nowhere to be found and we will be left to battle on our own. So they are not proactive, they are not reactive, they are simply inactive,” Hosein said.

Sheila Deokinanan, 68, has been living in the area for 25 years and told Newsday her home was flooded four times last year.

“Every time the rain falls heavily the place floods. I experience, in fact we all experience flooding every rainy season. Every year I lose appliances, furniture and other things. I had to move my belongings to higher ground, but I am running out of space.”

Deokinanan said she feared more losses because during the dry season no work was done in the area in preparation for the rainy season.

“I am 68 years old and to be worrying about flooding and seeing my things destroyed, that is plenty stress for me at this age,” she said.

Deokinanan and Hosein agreed that a solution could be for the major waterways and underground tunnels that run through the Brian Lara Stadium to be cleared.

Hosein said, “The community is growing, and those tunnels and waterways are too small for the volume of water that has to flow through them.

“At last week’s meeting with the regional co-ordinating agencies, the issue was raised with the drainage division, and they indicated they had a lot on their plate to deal with, including limited funding.”

He said Reform/Manahamabre was an urgent area to deal with and called on the Ministry of Works and Transport to treat it as such.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said 396 desilting projects were identified for this fiscal year, of which 218 projects had been completed and 178 were due to be completed, with additional funding being allocated.

He added annual desilting projects were categorised into four kinds, and most critical projects under phase one and critical projects under phase two had been completed, while phases three and four were ongoing, and were not done on the basis of constituency but rather geographic location.

Hosein said his area was classified as the most critical and disputed work done there.