Laurel V Williams
In the aftermath of the New Cut Channel bursting its banks on Thursday, Woodland residents spent most of the day cleaning and assessing their expenses on Friday.
Poultry farmer Bobby Bansgopaul of the La Fortune/Pluck Road told Newsday the floodwater swept away a number of his animals.
“I lost about 30 layers (chicken), five ducks, and several ducklings in the water yesterday,” he said on Friday.
Because the area is low-lying, it frequently floods. Last month, the area was also flooded, and he said he lost about $5,000 worth of animals.
He believes the floodgates that regulate the flow of water from Woodland to the Gulf of Paria contribute to flooding.
“Sometimes the pump is working at only one gate. If more pumps work at the same time, the water will run out faster,” he said.
Another resident, Kanhai Dwarpaul, recalled that many years ago, the community was heavily involved in growing rice and watermelon.
“That has stopped. Now we do not need all that water as before,” he said.
He, too, believes that if the riverbanks are raised and floodgates properly monitored, flooding could be minimised.
Dwarpaul said that water in the channel should constantly be drained when the tides are low.
He added, “When a weather system is coming that would cause rain, the water would fill the lagoon and not the road. That is all, problem solved.”
He estimated 50 homes were affected by Thursday’s flooding.
“I have a tractor because when the water rises, not even a dump truck would not be able to pass, given the volume of water here,” he said.
There were also reports of street/flash and residential flooding in Barrackpore, Penal and Debe after the South Oropouche River breached its banks.
The 11.10 am Met Office update on Friday said the South Oropouche River was contained, and the threat of further riverine flooding had decreased considerably.
Some places were still waterlogged and were expected to improve gradually. However, isolated showers in the afternoon might have slowed this process.
The office called on the public to monitor the weather and river/water levels from official sources.
It also called for them not to take unnecessary risks and to avoid driving or wading through floodwaters.