After more than 48hrs of consistent rainfall last week, parts of Trinidad experienced flooding which has been described as catastrophic, forcing the government to declare a national disaster. Reports have estimated that approximately 150,000 people have been affected with numbers expected to increase as detailed assessments are conducted.

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society (TTRCS) provided two ambulances to assist with the transport of injured and special needs residents as well as tended to the injuries of first responders. Thermal blankets were distributed to those persons who were stuck in their cars on the highway. The TTRCS deployed its disaster response team to one of the affected areas where two shelters were established, one in La Horquetta Regional Complex and the other at La Horquetta South Primary School.

Two shelters have already been installed and three additional shelters are planned to be opened in La Horquetta North Primary School and in the neighbouring district of Malabar Community Centre and Calvary Centre. At the time of this report the La Horquetta North Primary School is ready to be activated as a shelter. As the needs increase the other two centres will be mobilized.

Jill De Bourg, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross, visited the devastated Greenvale, La Horquetta community on Sunday 21st October. She said, “I really feel for the families who have been displaced and who have experienced significant loss but what was wonderful to see today especially and since the flood happened on Friday was the power of humanity, the power of people, the power of giving. The outpouring of support, the outpouring of persons being present. A Red Cross team of volunteers and staff has been on the ground with the relief efforts from Friday night and have been going non-stop. They continue to serve selflessly and with a level of commitment that’s really commendable.”

Kwan-Ho Timothy LAM, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) representative in Trinidad & Tobago, indicated, “Everything is well managed, from food, water, clothes distribution to waste management and even medical needs, they are all quite well managed. The shelters will be running for at least two weeks. In the coming days the IFRC will be looking into ways to help the TTRCS conduct the needs assessments”.

The TTRCS will continue to be active in shelter support, ambulance support and psychosocial support to the affected population.