Heavy flooding in Trinidad kills 2
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Monday, August 13, 2012 – Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has declared the north-western province of Diego Martin a disaster area as two people died and another two are missing after weather system lashed the island with heavy rain and wind over the weekend.
The dead were identified as 66-year-old Solomon Britto and 31-year-old Everold Bentham, both of La Puerto in Diego Martin. The victims died after heavy rainfall unleashed floods and mudslides in their area on Saturday.
Bentham's sister, Liz Bentham, told reporters floodwater surged through their community early on Saturday and her mother and sister were able to leave the house.
She said Bentham initially left with them but he returned to retrieve something from the house and died as the floodwater smashed through the house.
Bentham was reportedly asleep in bed when he was caught by the raging floodwaters .
The government has opened two shelters and in an address to the nation yesterday (August 12) evening, Persad-Bissessar disclosed that several ministries were being allowed to access emergency funding to deal with the situation at hand, while she had instructed the Ministry of National Security to deploy extra manpower to assist citizens. She also said that she would be establishing a hotline through which citizens could make calls to express their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the ongoing efforts.
A media release issued yesterday the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management stated that the severe weather contributed to landslides in Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin Main Road and Santa Cruz and led to flooding in Petite Valley, Diamond Vale, La Seiva, Carenage and Woodbrook.
According to the Trinidad Express, authorities have blamed "unscrupulous" tree cutting in the northern mountain range above Diego Martin for the severe flooding in the area.
Hayden Phillip, programme director at Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency, pointed out during clean-up efforts near the destroyed bridge at Gittens Road, Carenage, that the amount of debris there blocked up the river and the river came onto the road and cut it away.
"It was alleged that some gentleman in the hill was cutting and clearing a set of land, which basically is most of our problem with flooding these days. People cut unscrupulously, they don't have the proper drainage. It is fresh trees that were cut," he was quoted as saying.