November 26, 2022

Noticias Trinitarias

Información justa y balanceada a tu alcance en español

Inundaciones dejan zona de desastre en Manzanilla/Mayaro

Flooding along the Manzanilla/Mayaro Road caused havoc yesterday, damaging properties, felling an electricity pole and damaging part of the roadway, making it impassable to vehicular traffic.

The road was declared closed by the Ministry of Works and Transport last evening, as water continued to rise, causing more damage to the roadway and making it dangerous for motorists wanting to traverse the route.

Residents who live along the Manzanilla/Mayaro Road said their homes were inundated by as much as 4 feet of water.

Some of them said this was the worst flooding they had ever experienced but attributed it to the diversion and narrowing of a river a river by a developer.

One guest house owner, who did not want to be named, said this was the third major flood in three years and called on Government officials to address the problem.

“It is losses and more losses for the last three years without any compensation,” he said.

A medical doctor, who began construction of his beach house about two weeks ago, cried when he saw his structure damaged by the floodwaters, saying he had already about $300,000 on the structure.

Residents and commuters travelling out of Mayaro to get to Sangre Grande by taxis and maxi taxi said they are also now being asked to pay as much as $45.

Taxi driver Sonny Mahabir said the increase in fare was due to the fact that they are now forced to traverse through Rio Claro into Biche and Plum Mitan on the Southern Main Road to get to Sangre Grande, which a much longer route, because of the flooding issues.

The drivers said the road condition is also deplorable and they are using more gas and diesel for their vehicles.

Mayaro resident Rajwantie Harrikissoon said it is now costing residents $90 per day to get to work. Despite the extra cost, she praised the drivers for providing the service to the public.

During a press conference yesterday, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray called on Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan to launch an immediate investigation into land developments along the Manzanilla Road.

Paray said the road collapsed after heavy rains and flooding, resulting in serious inconvenience to residents and people who need to use it.

He laid most of the blame squarely on illegal developers whose activity is resulting in the Nariva Swamp to overflow its boundaries.

“Due to inconsiderate and perhaps illegal developing of lands in the sequential diverting of water courses, again, thousands of man hours and school hours are now being lost. I am calling on the Minister of Works and Transport to act urgently and swiftly to launch an immediate investigation into this illegal development which is, as I have been told, is the primary cause of the flooding and destruction of the Manzanilla roadway,” Paray said.

He said the Manzanilla roadway is under the control of the Works and Transport Ministry’s Highways Division.

The MP lamented the fact that information regarding the state of the roadway is not readily forthcoming from the ministry.

“It has become so bad that HR (Human Resource) departments are asking stranded employees in Mayaro to present proof of this blocked artery to Port- of-Spain. HR departments are accepting my Facebook posts as proof,” he said

Paray also called on the ministry to “put on their big boy pants” and provide daily updates to the public about the state of the road and planned remedial works.

“I make a further call to the Minister of Works and Transport to facilitate the movement of children… school children and other emergency workers from Mayaro to Sangre Grande via PTSC (Public Transport Service Corporation) buses,” he added.

Also at the news conference, yesterday was Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes who slammed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statement that major infrastructural works will commence around the country in the next dry season.

“These are the lives of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and you want to tell them dry season? Now, we can accept that certain types of work can only be done at a certain point in time but there have been dry seasons for the past seven years, what is so special about the 2023 dry season that we have to wait until then?”

SGRC boss urges caution

Last evening, Sangre Grande Regional Corporation chairman Anil Juteram urged motorists and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution along the roadway, saying it posed a danger to all road users.

Earlier, during a tour of the affected area, which stretched from the Manzanilla Beach Resort and continued past Tiki Bar, Juteram heard complaints from affected farmers and residents.

Standing in the pouring rain around 11.32 am, one farmer claimed, “The main overflow is blocked up by people building resorts and what not.”

Unwilling to call names, he continued, “The Plum Mitan water comes down here and the two main outlets blocked because the Manatee Trust don’t want the river dredge to go back into the Plum Mitan River for the big amount of overflow to go out. They say it is a reserve and they can’t dredge the river and that is the main cause for the water coming up and crossing the road here.”

Pointing to the area located at the back of the Pamzanilla Estate, the farmer told Juteram there used to be an overflow there which allowed excess water to flow out so there would be no flooding.

But the farmer added, “That is blocked also.”

Standing atop the concrete bridge railing as he pointed to the river that runs next to the Manzanilla Beach Resort and was not filled to capacity despite the flooded roadway a short distance away, Juteram said, “Some unscrupulous land developer is interfering with the natural watercourse and blocking the flow of the water.”

He challenged Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan to launch an investigation into the claims, noting businessowners, farmers and members of the public from Navet, Biche, Plum Mitan, Manzanilla and Mayaro were being affected.

Juteram added, “I don’t know what the Ministry of Works and the Minister of Works are waiting on…or if the entire roadway has to become like this in order to get some attention.”

An affected resident said, “We won’t even need pumps if these rivers are cleared properly, but it is blocked and that is what is causing the problem.”

At the popular Tiki Bar, workers were seen filling sandbags and placing them at the entrance to prevent water from flooding the facility.

Juteram urged the ministry to bring in excavators and backhoes to clean and de-silt the watercourses in the area from the tourist resort and beyond, as he said this kind of flooding was last seen around 2013/2014.

sirven y no pueden dragar el río y esa es la causa principal de que el agua suba y cruce el camino aquí”.

Señalando el área ubicada en la parte trasera de la finca Pamzanilla, el agricultor le dijo a Juteram que allí solía haber un desbordamiento que permitía que el exceso de agua fluyera para que no hubiera inundaciones.

Pero el granjero agregó: “Eso también está bloqueado”.

De pie sobre la barandilla del puente de hormigón mientras señalaba el río que corre junto al Manzanilla Beach Resort y que no estaba lleno a pesar de la carretera inundada a poca distancia, Juteram dijo: “Algún desarrollador de terrenos sin escrúpulos está interfiriendo con el curso de agua natural y bloqueando el flujo del agua.”

Retó al ministro de Obras y Transportes, Rohan Sinanan, a iniciar una investigación sobre los reclamos, y señaló que los empresarios, agricultores y miembros del público de Navet, Biche, Plum Mitan, Manzanilla y Mayaro estaban siendo afectados.

Juteram agregó: “No sé a qué están esperando el Ministerio de Obras Públicas y el Ministro de Obras… o si toda la carretera tiene que volverse así para llamar la atención”.

Un residente afectado dijo: “Ni siquiera necesitaremos bombas si estos ríos se limpian adecuadamente, pero están bloqueados y eso es lo que está causando el problema”.

En el popular Tiki Bar, se vio a los trabajadores llenando sacos de arena y colocándolos en la entrada para evitar que el agua inunde las instalaciones.

Juteram instó al ministerio a traer excavadoras y retroexcavadoras para limpiar y desenlodar los cursos de agua en el área del complejo turístico y más allá, ya que dijo que este tipo de inundación se vio por última vez alrededor de 2013/2014.

Fuente Guardian

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