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Cruisers respond to flooding in Trinidad and Tobago

by Jesse James & Daria Blackwell 19 Dec 2022 23:24 GMT
Jesse James and cruisers assisting flood victims in Trinidad © Ocean Cruising Club

Disruptions due to flooding are ongoing across parts of Trinidad since November 28. Flash floods and landslides have also hit Tobago.

Heavy rainfall concentrated in the northern and central parts of Trinidad since late November triggered these catastrophic events, compounding weeks of constant rainfall that caused ground level saturation and many major watercourses were already filled.

As of 29 November, official government reports indicated over 30 flood incidents, more than 51 landslides and 4 reports of damaged structures across 12 administrative districts. While the adverse weather alerts were discontinued in the afternoon of 29 November, the Riverine Flooding Alert remained effective at Orange Level (High Risk) and extended until 30 November. Approximately 100,000 people affected remain under threat and at risk from further rainfall events.

Trinidad has been experiencing flash flooding events more frequently in recent years. Flood waters reaching as high as 10 feet (3 metres) were proving challenging for disaster relief crews trying to reach those affected, and in the hardest hit areas. Officers from the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard and Defence Force called in boats and heavy-duty trucks. Many roads were also impassable due to the level of flooding.

OCC Port Officer Jesse James was organising cruisers to assist in rescue and clean-up operations. Cruisers brought dinghies and motors to distribute supplies and remove residents from flooded homes in Chaguaramas. Jesse extended his heartfelt thanks to all who chipped in:

  • John from Swagman who graciously loaned his dinghy and outboard.
  • Lynn from Fleet Wings offered hers also
  • Bruce from s/v Wild Matilda who drove and captained the effort.
  • Jonathan who serviced the outboard before we left Chag.
  • Amos and his excellent team who got the dinghy and engine set up and who will also be cleaning the dinghy and engine in the morning.
  • Our fearless YSATT President Mr Peter Peake who gave one of his trucks to transport the dinghy and outboard at very late notice.
  • My brothers who came along to support and who at this moment just now at 10:27PM are collecting their truck from Chaguaramas to go back to Central.
  • Salisha from Power Boats who gave us fuel.
  • Maxwell who will assist in repairing Johns dinghy.
  • Pascal, Tiffany and Danielle of s/v Felicity wonderful people. They did an awsome job today would not have accomplished half of what we did today without their help.
  • The cash you all so kindly donated will be going towards cleaning supplies as this will be where the major expense and clean-up operations are needed.
  • Last but not least... the support from my wife and daughter...without their support i would not be able to coordinate this effort.

There is much much more to be done. If anyone has some time and is willing to come to give a helping hand to help the people who were devasted by this flooding, the water seems to be down now and by the morning is when the major clean up begins. A lot of manual physical help will be needed. If anyone wishes to come along to assist, I will be leaving from my office by 9am-ish and will take anyone who wants to come along.

If you do want to join us, please bring a change of clothes, towels, water boots, gloves. Any cleaning agent or anything you may have in mind to help in a disaster like this would be most welcome. Please bring it and meet me by my office for 9am. Thanks again to all who have assisted so far.

God Bless and good night.

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This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.