Residents of Bagatelle Terrace, St Thomas are again appealing to the authorities to come to their rescue following yesterday’s heavy rains that left sections of the community under water.
By this afternoon, much of the raging water had receded, but 69-year-old Winnie Griffith, who has been living in the area for over 25 years, expressed concern that the perennial flooding was a tragedy waiting to happen.
“We have been complaining for years now. It’s horrible when we have rain. I used to keep kitchen gardens in my backyard and I can’t do that anymore, because when the water comes over, all of my things get washed away, so I had to stop that,” she said, while accusing the authorities of turning a blind eye to the situation.
“We all feel neglected, we are suffering. Yesterday was the worst. I thought the children and man who were in the water would have died. The water was just too high. Not even the fire truck could get up here,” Griffith reported, while describing the latest flooding episode as simply unbearable.
Griffith, who is a regular contributor to local call-in radio, further lamented that despite promises, nothing had been done to ameliorate her community’s plight.
“We heard that money was allocated to fix around here, [but] believe you me, it hasn’t been done. I called and I cried. Every time it rains I have to go on VOB and beg people not come along here. [But] don’t care how you complain, nothing is being done for us,” she said.
“They [the authorities] don’t care. I feel they look after their family and friends, but not the ordinary man who is paying their taxes,” the frustrated resident said.
While expressing concern that death could result from the constant heavy flooding, she reported that “last year I saved a man from drowning.
“I had to pull him from the force of the water. When I got him, I thought he was dead. He didn’t know where he was [and] I am afraid that somebody will drown up here if we have rains like what Dominica [experienced during the passage of Hurricane Maria last month] . . . but I pray everyday that don’t happen,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Another resident Lorna Farley said she found it very difficult to gain entry to her home yesterday amid the heavy downpours which the Barbados Meteorological Office said had resulted from an upper level trough system and a tropical wave that dumped between three to five inches of rain on the island.
“For many years this has been going on. We have spoken to the authorities but nothing has been done about it. Yesterday when I was coming home, I could not get into my house, I had to go around the other avenue and climb over my fence. I don’t think it is fair. It has been going on far too long and something has to be done,” Farley insisted.
Echoing Griffith’s sentiments, an annoyed Farley said she also feared the worst.
“I am afraid that something really drastic will happen, then you will get everybody coming. This water level is extremely high and people can’t pass, I am very affected, my neighbours as well, we can’t get into our houses,” she stressed.
“If there is a solution why can’t somebody come and do something about it. I am really perturbed at this point. It seems as though nobody takes our calls seriously. I am appealing to the authorities and telling them that something needs to be done,” she added.
Wilson Cummings, who has resided in the community for most of his life, also complained that no one had come to their rescue even though “up here does flood out all the time [and] the water does come high.
“I does try to stay in doors once we get a lot of rains. We have been complaining about this for a long time and I don’t know what they intend to do about it,” the elderly man said.
However, while there was no sign of drainage workers or any other Government authorities at Bagatelle today, a crew from the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) was hard at work along the south coast this afternoon when a Barbados TODAY arrived in the area, which was hit by not only flooding, but a sewage stink yesterday.
“We don’t know why the bolts [on the manhole] went missing, but what we are doing is welding to make sure the incident doesn’t happen again,” Head of the BWA’s Waste Water Division Patricia Inniss told Barbados TODAY.
She acknowledged that in addition to the flooding that there was an overflow of sewage water along parts of the south coast, but said the BWA had purchased new equipment and was working to permanently address the situation.
“We have had issues earlier this year but no one in their right mind would expect that we are saying that in three months a sewage plant that has been deteriorating for the past 15 years will be perfect that is unrealistic. It will take a while, but in the nine months that we have been working, we have kept the sewage problem to a minimum,” she said.