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Major Rivers Still to Be Cleared

Posted on May 10, 2016

With the 2016 rainy season creeping in earlier than expected, regional corporations throughout the country are still struggling to clear waterways, including tributaries and drains.

However, they claim that despite a major delay by the drainage division at the Ministry of Works and Transport to clear major rivers of all debris, de-silted and dredged, they are doing the best they can.

Many areas affected by bush fires during the dry season have left hills bare of vegetation and this can lead to devastating landslides and flooding. Corporations had a jump start as the Zika virus awareness campaign led to several community drains being cleaned to remove potential breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the virus.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian, chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite Regional Corporation, Henry Awong, said that works to have all tributaries cleared are not quite completed yet but gave the assurance that efforts are being hastened.

“Given our minimum resources, including financial, we are trying to make it work. We are only allocated $400,000 and, with that, we would have to rent additional equipment and machinery to do the job. But, we are working on clearing the tributaries and drains throughout the region,” Awong said.

He added that on top the priority list is the Claxton Bay area which experiences flash flooding every time there is a heavy downpour of rain.

“We are really focusing on this area because we do not want a repeat of last year and other flood prone areas. We are working quickly.”

Sangre Grande Regional Corporation chairman Terry Rondon said his corporation is not quite ready but admitted they would “soon get there.” He, however, noted that major rivers including the Matura, Valencia and Guaico Rivers are in dire need of clearing and dredging works. These are really supposed to be the work of the ministry but we are not waiting on anyone, we are trying to do what we can and as much as we can for ourselves.”

He also admitted that he was getting assistance from the Local Government Minister Franklin Khan and is expected to have two disaster units established in Sangre Grande and Mayaro soon.

“We sent out letters to the Ministry of Works about the major rivers and outstanding works that must be done but, at the same time, we are not going to wait. If we have to get help from the burgesses around, well so be it,” Rondon said.

Chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation Edwin Gooding said the corporation is ready for the rainy season, in terms of local drains but definitely not ready with respect to the major rivers/waterways.

“We need to get the Ministry of Works here,” Gooding said.

An official at the San Fernando City Corporation said that clearing of waterways was ongoing. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, urged residents to help in getting the work done by identifying areas which need to be cleaned and which rivers need dredging.

Source: Guardian

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