Sangre Grande flood victims still in tears

Bury­ing his face in a tow­el to hide his tears, Joseph Hosten had to be com­fort­ed by his wife An­ganie at their Leemond Road, San­gre Grande home on Tues­day.

The Hostens were one of the hun­dreds of res­i­dents in the re­gion af­fect­ed by re­cent floods.

Leemond falls with­in the Man­zanil­la/Fish­ing Pond elec­toral dis­trict rep­re­sent­ed by coun­cil­lor Ken­wyn Phillip.

The cou­ple lost every­thing in­clud­ing their hap­pi­ness and peace of mind. They es­ti­mat­ed their loss­es at $40,000.

As An­ganie de­scribed how flood­wa­ters poured in­to their one-bed­room home short­ly af­ter mid­night last Thurs­day, Joseph, who has suf­fered mul­ti­ple strokes and is con­fined to a wheel­chair, burst in­to tears.

“It was a fright­en­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for my hus­band…know­ing that the wa­ter lev­els kept ris­ing and he could not help him­self and had to de­pend on me to get him to safer ground.”

An­ganie, 47, said as she pushed the knee-high wa­ter out of their wood­en struc­ture, she heard her hus­band’s muf­fled cries be­hind her.

“I don’t ever want to go through that ex­pe­ri­ence again.”

An­ganie said af­ter the wa­ter re­ced­ed, she re­ceived no ham­per or clean­ing de­ter­gents from the SGRC to sani­tise her home.

Selvon Ram­cha­ran, a pen­sion­er, has bat­tled six floods at his Cu­napo South­ern Main Road home this year.

Ram­cha­ran said last Thurs­day’s flood­ing was the worst he had seen in years and he was “fed up” with his con­stant loss­es and liv­ing on the edge.

“Every time rain fall it have you un­easy.”

In 2021, Ram­cha­ran said, the com­mu­ni­ty was flood­ed be­cause of a de­vel­op­ment in the area.

“I liv­ing here for 42 years and it nev­er had this type of flood­ing be­fore. It’s be­yond frus­trat­ing now. What am I sup­posed to do? How much you could take, man? This is over­bear­ing now.”

As he poured his heart out, Ram­cha­ran fought hard to con­tain his tears.

It took Ram­cha­ran and his 56-year-old wife days to clean their home.

“I had to buy my own clean­ing agents. It reached a stage you not get­ting help from the State when you get flood­ed out. No ham­per. No mat­tress. Not even a hot meal. You had to fight up on your own af­ter go­ing through hell,” Ram­cha­ran said.

In the Coalmine dis­trict, Mulchan See­baran, 72, and his wife Ed­na, 68, sat on the ve­ran­dah of their Veron­i­ca Boule­vard home in a state of de­spair af­ter los­ing ap­prox­i­mate­ly $60,000 in house­hold items.

The area is rep­re­sent­ed by San­gre Grande West coun­cil­lor Calvin Seecha­ran who con­firmed that 17 homes in the dis­trict were se­vere­ly af­fect­ed.

A pic­ture of wor­ry was etched on the cou­ple’s faces as they pon­dered their next move.

“It was dev­as­tat­ing…re­al­ly hor­ri­ble. I kept ask­ing God to give me the courage and strength to cope with what was be­fore us. Yes, it pained me. Yes, I cried when my hus­band was not look­ing af­ter see­ing every­thing wa­ter­soaked,” Ed­na con­fessed.

Mulchan said he suf­fered in si­lence.

“My tears were not vis­i­ble. But I cried with­in be­cause it was a hard blow for us. I don’t know how long it will take be­fore we re­cov­er from this,” Mulchan said.

The el­der­ly cou­ple said they cleaned their home with the help of rel­a­tives and re­ceived no as­sis­tance else­where.

Mulchan said he was still await­ing his $10,000 dis­as­ter re­lief grant from the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices fol­low­ing the 2018 na­tion­wide flood.

“Around that time, they had the bobol with the grants so I don’t know if they stopped the pay­ments. But we nev­er get any mon­ey,” Mulchan said.

Coun­cil­lors Phillip and Seecha­ran claimed that the $50,000 al­lo­cat­ed to the SGRC by the Min­istry of Fi­nance each year to as­sist flood vic­tims in the eight elec­toral dis­tricts was in­suf­fi­cient, and they urged the gov­ern­ment to re­con­sid­er the fig­ure.

“The Gov­ern­ment keeps say­ing fund­ing re­mains a chal­lenge but this is one of the re­gions im­pact­ed the worst by floods. Every time rain falls places that nev­er used to flood…flood­ing right now,” Phillip said.

They claimed dozens of burgess­es who lost their homes in the 2018 flood were still wait­ing for their grants.

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