Tobago still in clean-up mode: 200-plus reports of damage caused by Beryl

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Bloody Bay residents were also involved in the clean-up exercise to remove fallen trees after Hurricane Beryl affected Tobago on July 1. – File photo

WITH clean-up still und r way across Tobago after the passage of Hurricane Beryl on July 1, the Tobago Emergency Agency (TEMA) spent most of mid-week assessing the damage to properties.

As of July 3, TEMA said it had received more than 200 reports of damage.

TEMA director Allan Stewart told Newsday Tobago crews will remain on the ground as restoration work continues throughout the island, but especially along the north side, which includes communities such as Mason Hall, Moriah, Castara, L’Anse Fourmi, Bloody Bay and Parlatuvier.

Stewart said, “We are currently at 220 reports. We are seeing residential reports happening now as people are making reports on how it (Hurricane Beryl) affected them in their dwellings.”

He said the reports, so far,concerned damage caused by fallen trees or fallen utility poles.

He added that on Wednesday alone, 13 reports were made to the Tobago Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis Task Force.

This task force, with officials from TEMA, the THA’s Division of Infrastructure, the Defence Force (TTDF), and the Division of Settlements, Public Utilities, and Rural Development, is responsible for assessing   damage caused by Beryl throughout the island.

The task force is also responsible for gathering information from affected residents and channelling this data to the appropriate and relevant state and/or THA agencies for assistance.

Stewart said reports continue to be about land slippage and fallen trees.

He said TEMA is working to source materials to repair damaged structures as quickly as possible.

“Some have fallen on residential properties. From the onset, we have been trying to clear some of those trees: we are working on clearing the trees on private properties.

“Seeing that the roadways are clear, that continues and the teams from the various engineers are outside there doing their damage assessments and needs analysis to determine how to rectify some of the homes: some of them are poor construction, deteriorated buildings that became susceptible to the winds and lost some of their roofs. So, the engineers are doing that currently; that is the major activity.”

He said TEMA was also trying to get material to do some repairs to damaged roofs.

Damage to various utilities, he said, was 95 per cent rectified.

“I think all areas have been reconnected. There may be one or two persons – I know a lady in Mason Hall – who had a tree come down, pulling down her utility line in the process…

“Once that is disturbed, sometimes it requires inspection and all of that kind of thing before they rejoin it, but T&TEC would have gone in and removed the power so that the crew could have done the cutting-up of the tree.”

The latter part, he said, would be ensuring that the lines are in good order and the connection is well-stabilised so the inspectorate can do its job.

There is no blockage of any sort, he said.

In addition, schools in the area were also affected by the lack of electricity.

On July 1, the Division of Education announced that all ECCE, primary and secondary schools in Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside would be closed until further notice. Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation High School, Scarborough, also remains closed until further notice.