PORT OF SPAIN – A full term pregnant woman, trapped by rising flood waters, was yesterday rescued by a Guardian Media team and residents of St Helena Village, after waiting for over two hours in vain for help from the Regiment and the Office of the Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM).
Karma Jackson, 32, who is 40 weeks pregnant and is due to give birth tomorrow, had summoned help from the ODPM around 7 a.m. yesterday. An official promised to return the call in five minutes but none came.
Her frantic husband, Akil, reached out to the Emergency Health Services for help.
Emergency management technicians Linford Lewis and Kerin Julien arrived on the scene within minutes but by then flood waters at Constantine Road, where the Jacksons resided, were almost five feet in depth.
No one could go in or out.
Most of the major rivers were overflowing after the passage of Tropical Storm Bret on Monday. With the high tide and more rains in the Northern Range, residents were bracing for more floods during the day and into last night.
A Guardian Media team covering the devastation after the Caroni River burst its banks shortly after 3 am yesterday, stopped to help out with the situation involving Jackson yesterday.
A call was made to Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young to use his influence to get the Regiment to respond.
A short while later, Col Roger Carter, the Operations Officer of the Defence Force, contacted the Guardian Media team asking for directions to the site.
As the minutes wore on and there was no sign of the Regiment, villagers with the assistance of EMT Lewis hopped on a flat-bed truck and headed to Jackson’s home.
The truck driver navigated the narrow road to the house, located almost at the end of Constantine Road, where villagers, under the guidance of Lewis, assisted the patient onto the stretcher and lifted her on the truck.
By the time Col Carter called back, however, the patient had been rescued and was on her way to the hospital.
Contacted afterwards, Young said while he was disappointed by the lack of a timely response the case was an isolated incident. He said the authorities were responding to many emergency situations across the country.
“It is a long time she was lying in pain,” her husband said as he comforted his wife on the way out.
The woman was subsequently taken to Mt Hope Women’s Hospital where she was warded.