There will be no major celebrations for thousands of residents in many areas in the Caroni East constituency due to the devastating floods that hit Trinidad and Tobago just two weeks ago, according to Caroni East MP, Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
This as thousands of residents are struggling to adapt to the severe losses of property and possessions they suffered when the waters rose to record heights in areas such as St Helena, Madras, El Carmen, Warrenville and Kelly Village, he said, noting that this constituency was among the worst hit in the country by the flooding.
Dr Gopeesingh made these observations, as he embarked on Day 8 of his Flood Relief Drive in the constituency on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, where he continued his walkabouts along the main roads, side streets and traces of Kelly, St Helena, Madras and El Carmen giving relief hampers, food, mattresses and water to affected residents, as well as ensuring that those who qualify for the flood relief funds, currently being disbursed by the Ministry of Social Development are assessed and compensated.
Having visited nearly 1000 homes in the past eight days, Dr Gopeesingh noted that almost all of these residents have lost and suffered severe damage to all of their material possessions, including appliances, clothing, furniture and many vehicles, as well as their physical home structures.
“It is extremely painful and distressing to witness the extent of severe damage in their homes, that these residents continue to endure. They will take a very long time to put their lives back and those of their families, to heal, as we continue to witness their depression and hurt” Dr Gopeesingh said.
Day 8 of his Flood Relief Drive took him to Rock River Road, Hydraulic Street, Rabindranath Street, Farm Road, David Trace, Laundry Road, Herrera Street and Constantine Street.
He noted that about 30-40% of homes have not as yet been assessed by the Ministry of Social Development and he assured the residents that he would make representation on their behalf, to ensure that they are provided with the Government aid in their time of serious need.
The MP also gave out flood relief hampers of mainly cleaning supplies, as residents have been trying to make their homes livable once more.
Noting that the streets in several areas remained strewn with massive piles of, garbage and damaged appliances and furniture from the flooding, causing a potentially serious health and environmental crisis in the areas, Dr Gopeesingh said he sought the assistance of the Ministers of Works and Transport and Local Government, Rohan Sinanan and Kazim Hosein, respectively.
The MP indicated that Mr Sinanan said that the Ministries have enlisted the help of private contractors for the cleanup activities and that hopefully within a three-day period they would have completed the cleanup in time for Divali.
Earlier this week, (Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 October, 2018) Dr Gopeesingh had also embarked on his Flood Relief Drive, visiting Sieunarine Trace, Church Street, River Branch Road, Mary Allen Street, Rattan Street, Hydraulic Road and La Solita Street.
This followed the previous four days walking the constituency during the flood, where he had distributed hundreds of mattresses, over 1500 cases of water, nearly 4000 meals and hundreds of relief hampers to affected residents.
Last week, Dr Gopeesingh also worked closely with senior officials at the Ministry of Social Development, to ensure that these constituents were assessed as priority for the Flood Relief Grants promised by the government to the worst hit citizens of the country, to ensure they were beneficiaries of the medium term relief cheques.
He was present when Ministry officials began distributing some 250 cheques on Monday, October 29, 2018 at the St Helena Hindu Primary to give his continued support to his affected constituents from affected households from St Helena and Las Lomas.
Dr Gopeesingh said given that over 40% of the nearly 1000 homes he visited so far have NOT been assessed and he indicated that he would be working with the Ministry of Social Development officials to re-evaluate their situations and ensure that their claims for flood relief cheques are registered and the payments made.
He told residents that he would submit their names and relevant information to the Ministry for consideration of the relief cheques, noting that he has been and will continue to work with the Ministry, to ensure that no one in need of these relief funds is left out.
He had also sought the assistance of Chairmen of the Tunapuna/Piarco and Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporations, Mr Paul Leacock and Mr Henry Awong, respectively, to assist with cleanup of the flood debris, in addition to cess pit cleaning and sanitising and was assured of their intentions to aid residents.
Dr Gopeesingh’s flood relief efforts and assessment continue this week in other areas of the constituency and he is asking affected residents who are yet to be assessed, to call his constituency office at 693-1167 or 693-1560 to register their queries/requests.