Flooding and landslides have affected parts of Trinidad and Tobago since Friday 19 October after a period of heavy rain. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said “This is a national disaster, the flooding is quite widespread and quite severe and it is going to cost a lot of money to bring relief to people who have been affected.”
The Coast Guard and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force were deployed to carry out flood rescues and evacuations. Around 15 shelters were set up to in schools and community centres in order to house those displaced.
The Prime Minister said “Rescue operations continue with the Coast Guard utilising boats to reach stranded persons. I want to assure persons that the Government is doing all that it can to, in the first instance, rescue trapped persons and then to ensure that they have the resources they need when they get to the shelters.”
“We have received no reports of casualties but I have heard many stories of close calls. My focus at this time is on the conditions at the shelters making sure that people housed there have cots, blankets, food and other supplies.”
Among the worst affected areas are La Horquetta, Sangre Grande, Mayaro, Mafeking, Las Lomas, St Helena and Kelly. Flood water was up to 1.5 metres deep in some areas, making roads impassable and leaving communities cut off. At one point Sangre Grande Hospital was inaccessible due to flooding along the roadways leading to the health facility.
Rainfall and Rivers
Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) said that Crown Point recorded 117.6 mm of rain in 24 hours to 20 October. The previous day Piarco recorded 73.9 mm and Crown point 45.8 mm.
It is thought that the Guayamare and Caroni rivers among others have broken their banks. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management said in a statement of 19 October “Currently, river levels have exceeded threshold levels and some have already over spilled their banks.”
TTMS issued several warnings prior to the flooding. On 19 October, a Riverine Flood Alert was upgraded to Red Level warning that “Preparations to protect life, livelihood and property especially those residing along the Caroni River Basin should be rushed to completion immediately if it has not been completed as yet.”
Further rain is possible as the Service said, as “an active ITCZ continues to produce intermittent periods of rain/showers and thunderstorm activity which can lead to flash flooding and exacerbate existing riverine flooding. Showers can be heavy to torrential at times and produce damaging gusty winds. Landslides/landslips are also likely in areas so prone.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by the flood in Trinidad. Please be safe and exercise caution. pic.twitter.com/PMf3Ygmj1h
— The Proud Caribbean (@ProudCaribbean) October 21, 2018
We join in #prayer as National Disaster has declared in #Trinidad & #Tobago due to flooding. MU leader Valerie West has asked us to pray for improved weather conditions, the safety of all affected and the flood waters to recede quickly.
Oh Lord hear our prayer #Amen pic.twitter.com/v1RZ0HAhIF
— Mothers' Union (@MothersUnion) October 20, 2018
After the floods it's time to assess the damage and clean up. Residents say nothing can be salvaged. Trinidad & Tobago Red Cross society volunteers are assisting in Greenvale, La Horqueta: one of the hardest hit areas. pic.twitter.com/kKlDv8GiNO
— Gennike Mayers (@MayersGennike) October 21, 2018
B - Sangre Grande
C - Mayaro
D - Mafeking
E - Las Lomas
F - St Helena
Crown Point - October 19 to October 20, 2018
Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) figures
Piarco - October 18 to October 19, 2018
Crown point - October 18 to October 19, 2018
Guayamare river - October 19 to October 22, 2018
Caroni river - October 19 to October 22, 2018
No details of river levels available. Trinidad's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management said in a statement of 19 October “Currently, river levels have exceeded threshold levels and some have already over spilled their banks.” Media reports suggested the Guayamare and Caroni overflowed.
October 19 to October 22, 2018
estimated figure. 15 shelters were set up to house those displaced.
October 19 to October 22, 2018
Estimated figure based on reports of affected areas and photos. Flood water was up to 1.5 metres deep in some areas, making roads impassable and leaving communities cut off.