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Troubled waters

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Troubled waters

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THE HEAVENS OPENED over Barbados again yesterday resulting in a deluge which caused flooding and other problems.
The Barbados Meteorological Office issued a flood warning which was in effect until 6 p.m. This forced early closure for schools at 1 p.m.
“A persistent trough system in combination with the inter-tropical convergence zone continues to generate cloudy to overcast skies, periods of rain, occasional outbreaks of moderate to heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms across the island,” it said.
A WEEKEND NATION team went to some trouble spots.
In Apple Hall Tenantry Road, St Philip, residents said they were fed up with the state of the only track which allowed access to their homes.
“Every time it rains, we can’t get out [with vehicles]. We’ve been begging for help for 25 years and we are tired,” said Cheryl Alleyne.
She, along with Marie Crichlow, Betsy Thompson and Delphene Coppin, said many residents had to park as far away as Inch Cape and walk as their cars were unable to traverse the muddy, waterlogged track.
“We’re not asking for a mountain; we just need something accessible,” said Coppin.
The women said the path was once level but had deteriorated over time to the point where utility and emergency services were reluctant to enter.
“That water does be in them holes for weeks!” declared Crichlow. “Now we have to take our garbage to the development next door because [the Sanitation?Service Authority (SSA) trucks do not] come in here.”
The women were critical of parliamentary representative,?Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley, for not paying them enough attention.
But in response, Lashley said he had been in Cabinet recently but assured them the matter was not being overlooked.
“We are aware of the situation and [the Ministry of Transport and Works], along with myself and the minister [John Boyce] will be looking into it,” Lashley said.
In Wiltshire, St Philip, Frank Jackman was unable to go home because flood waters blocked the path. Instead, he decided to “spend an hour or so” with relatives on Wiltshire Plantation until the waters subsided.
“We live near the junction of Bayfield and Marley Vale, but it is too deep for our car to pass through, so we will wait here for an hour or so. This often happens around this time of year, but I would appreciate it if Government could build a proper gutter for the water to run off,” he said.
In Mount All, White Hill, St Andrew, a road caved in, blocking passage through the area. Resident Venice Lowe said he had noticed a crack from Wednesday evening.
“It started around 3 p.m [Wednesday] when the road had a crack; then by 11 a.m [yesterday], it started to sink,” he said.
By afternoon, the road had become impassable and MTW personnel placed barrels and signs to warn motorists.
Lowe said it looked like the entire section would soon slip away, especially if the inclement weather continued.
Member of Parliament George Payne said the problem was a burst main under the road which the Barbados Water Authority had ignored.
“Residents have been complaining for a week,” Payne said, “but no one came, so the water undermined the whole structure and it started to collapse.”
Calling the situation “the worst slippage I have ever seen in St Andrew” since he became MP, Payne said residents now had to go through Belleplaine to get from one side to the other, adding Government was to have moved residents from the area a long time ago.
Meantime, inspite of the incessant rains, the Department of Emergency Management (DEM)?said it did not get any flood reports.
“I was there all day,” said Judy Thomas, director of DEM.
“The persons were given the warning, and warning means that you are supposed to do certain things at home if you know your vulnerability.
I would have expected by now that Barbadians know where they live, and what happens when it rains alot, they would have got out and do what was necessary,” said Thomas.
She said that DEM would only respond to calls if [circumstances] exceeded the ability of people affected to deal with them.
“Persons might have had some flooding in areas but it did not impede them to the extent that we had to be called in.”
Thomas said the only situation the DEM anticipated was that schoolchildren would have been out at [3 p.m.] and at this time of the year, with diminishing light, it would have been difficult for some of them to manoeuvre.
“The Ministry of Education, after consultation with the [Ministry of Home Affairs], made the determination that the children would get off an hour earlier. My minister had inquired about our concern and [their plight] was the concern we had,” said Thomas. (CA)