Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Firefighters busy as floods wreak havoc in Port of Spain

Fire officers were called out to the Princess Elizabeth Centre on Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook, to rescue close to ten differently-abled children who were being threatened by swirling flood waters.

According to reports, an employee of the home telephoned the Wrightson Road Fire Headquarters shortly after 4 pm, pleading with officers to assist in relocating children at the facility.

Flood waters about three feet high were said to be in and around the home.

Fire officers from Woodbrook also assisted in the rescue operation and the children were eventually taken to safer grounds.

According to reports, flooding began along Ariapita Avenue shortly after 3 pm on Saturday last after a heavy torrential downpour, resulting in several areas near the Princess Elizabeth Home being overcome by flood waters.

“The whole compound is flooded and now we have a massive clean-up operation but the Fire Services are assisting us. It is just mud everywhere,”one employee said when contacted by Sunday Newsday.

Saying there were only about eight clients at the Centre when the flooding occurred (most of the children had gone to their homes for the weekend), the employee said the facility usually had a complement of 45 resident children and about 40 who attend school there. She urged parents to make arrangements to have their children kept at home tomorrow to facilitate the clean-up exercise.

A statement from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) said its chief executive officer, Dr Stephen Ramroop, and other staff visited the home to assess and supervise relief efforts.

“With the assistance of the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service and the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross, the children have been removed from the flooded rooms and quarters and are being housed in the school area of their home,” the ODPM said in the release.

“Arrangements are being made to have meals and other urgently needed items provided to the home.”

Residents of the area said it was the first time they had experienced such heavy flooding in the Woodbrook area. In fact, fire officers also had to use boats to rescue residents near the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Sunday Newsday also understands that the Maraval River also broke its banks , resulting in heavy flooding in La Seiva.

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