PORT OF SPAIN – Five families from Bamboo Village, , had to be evacuated yesterday evening, after massive coastal erosion caused a house to fall into the sea. Three homes belonging to Leroy Joseph, Deomatie Mohammed and another resident were also on the brink of collapse.
About 400 metres of the Bamboo Village Extension Road collapsed into the Columbus Bay during yesterday’s incident. Electricity poles were also torn down, rendering the village without power and throwing them into darkness at nightfall and water lines were also dislodged.
Describing the area as a disaster zone last night, Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh said he saw the houses being swallowed by the sea while residents scrambled to save their possessions. He said residents contacted him at about 2.30 p.m. when they felt their homes shaking.
“We saw cracks on the houses and on the road and I advised them to pack up their belongings. Two hours later, half of the house started slipping away before our eyes,” Teelucksingh said.
The home’s owner, Chamion Gunness, broke down in tears after seeing all her belongings disappear.
Some 20 people were evacuated to the Cedros Community Centre and up to 7 p.m. there was still no electricity in the area. There was sense of desperation and hopelessness as the residents weighed their futures and others in the community considered whether the disaster area could widen.
One resident said none of the disaster agencies had responded up to 6.40 pm, some two hours after the massive erosion tore apart the village.
“When the first slide took place we didn’t know what to do. We had to scramble to save half of our belongings,” a resident said.
Siparia Regional Corporation Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, who was still liaising with various state agencies to get help last night, expressed disappointment in the lack of an earlier response to the villagers’ plight. He said the corporation had to borrow disaster relief from nearby corporations to assist the victims.
Cedros is located below sea level and residents said they believe the recent earthquakes could have exacerbated the erosion.
Coastal erosion is just one of the effects of climate change. Some of the hottest temperatures in recorded history occurred in 2017, as glaciers melt and sea levels continue to rise due to climate change.
Coastal areas are extremely sensitive to changes in frequency and intensity of storms, increases in rainfall and warmer temperatures.
And in recent time these weather patterns have been changing at an alarming and unpredictable rate.
In 2017, the Caribbean was pummelled by two hurricanes in quick succession, something many have only experiences once in their lifetime. This has forced several world leaders to admit that climate change is real and the issue must be confronted before it cripples the GDP of small island developing states, which are the most vulnerable to this phenomenon.
Tonight during the 7 p.m. newscast, CNC3 will take an in depth look at climate change.
They’ll speak to experts who believe not enough is being done and talk to the authorities tasked with preparing the country for this imminent threat.