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Clearing Downstream Areas Can Ease Flooding

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The statement that the authorities need to focus on people who build in areas prone to flooding is a little bit unfair, as in many cases the flooding is caused by developments occurring after the homes have been built. It often comes about as a result of land development downstream of the affected areas.

Some years ago Chaguanas used to suffer from terrible flooding all along the main road. Business owners were in constant pain from losses as a result of flooding. A former government cleared the downstream areas and opened up several channels which had been filled up to accommodate commercial and industrial enterprises. Flooding in Chaguanas is now a thing of the past.

Flooding in St Helena is a recent phenomenon. While it lies in the catchment area of the Caroni River, proper drainage prevented the build-up of water which had made life a nightmare for residents of the community.

Research will reveal that downstream of St Helena there have been so many large industrial and commercial buildings that the water is contained within the Caroni basin and has no way of flowing out to sea.

Needless to say, the unfortunate people of Penal and environs are faced with the same dilemma, this time caused by the ill-conceived Solomon Hochoy Highway extension.

On this occasion, the trials of the people have been created by a bungling government, which refused to give consideration to the report of a committee set up for the specific purpose of avoiding the very problems currently traumatising the good people of Penal.

It is easy to sit in one’s ivory tower and pontificate about the irresponsibility of building homes in flood-prone areas, but, as the people of Cascade and St Ann’s have discovered, it can happen to anyone of us.

Life does not discriminate in sharing out its bounties or its tribulations, and it is unwise to suggest that people who live in rural communities are deserving of the fate they are exposed to.

The misery faced by people who have been living in their flooded homes for days and weeks cannot be appreciated by people who have not experienced it.

While sympathy makes little difference to suffering people, it is at least not adding to the misery they face.

Let us at least understand their suffering and demand that the Government goes well beyond the extra mile to alleviate their plight.

Karan Mahabirsingh