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Trinidad and Tobago

Cedros villagers still on edge

DISASTER AREA: This was Bamboo Village in Cedros yesterday two days after the roadway collapsed and a house crumbled into a sinkhole.

LAUREL V WILLIAMS

AS cracks in Bamboo Village, Cedros continue to widen, fearful residents were yesterday removing doors and windows from their homes which are perched on a cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Paria.

On Monday, a sinkhole caused a house to crumble and the land to sink almost 250 down. Along the cliff, huge chunks of rock and dirt crashed into the sea as erosion made the land unstable.

The area around the sinkhole has been declared a danger zone and five houses are on the verge of collapse. Thirty people from eight families are on the brink of homeless. Part of the road remains closed off and several residents have been evacuated.

“People say the land is floating. We have nothing here. We took off the doors and windows of our house as we are preparing for the worst. Right now it’s all about what we can salvage while we wait for the house to fall apart,” said Zairoom Mohammed, 62. Her brother, she added, is now staying at the Cedros community centre.

In the wake of the devastation, Energy Minister Franklin Khan on Tuesday announced that government intends to provide temporary housing accommodation at HDC’s Lake View Housing Development in Point Fortin. Officials from the Housing Development Corporation and Social Development Unit continued to do assessments and interviews yesterday with affected residents, many of whom are not pleased with the assistance.

“This is an emergency, a disaster. We want keys first and talks after. It is all sorts of nonsense we are hearing about the relocation for only three months. We have to do a set of running around. I do not know what will happen after that time,” Mohammed said.

Her husband, Leroy Joseph, 76, is a pensioner, and the family does not have the financial means to purchase a house. UTT student Kareem Mohammed, 22, agreed that the three-months tenure is too short.

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything, but three months is a very short time. We are starting from the beginning, we have nothing. Three months is difficult. By the time we settle in there, it is time to move out,” Mohammed said. His father Fazal Mohammed, 55, a former fisherman, echoed similar sentiments.

“In three months things cannot work. What can we do in three months? I have no money, I am no longer working. I am sickly. We lost everything when our house collapsed. We are filling out forms for help and we don’t know how things will work out.”

President of the Geological Society and geologist Ann Ramsook said that members had not visited the site as coastal erosion is not an area they manage. As such, she was unable to comment. When contacted, the Institute of Marine Affairs said an official was dispatched yesterday to assess the situation and as such could not comment on the development.

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us!